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COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Pfizer to test jabs in children below 12 years of age

The COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is already authorised for emergency use in children as young as 12 in the United States, European Union, and Canada.

June 09, 2021 / 09:36 AM IST
COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Pfizer expects data from 5- to 11-year-old children in September, said a company spokesperson. (Representative image)

COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Pfizer expects data from 5- to 11-year-old children in September, said a company spokesperson. (Representative image)

Pfizer has announced that it is beginning to test its COVID-19 vaccine in children younger than 12 years of age.

The company has already conducted a first-step study in a small number of young children to test different doses. Based on safety, tolerability and the immune response generated by 144 children in a phase I study of the two-dose shot, Pfizer said it will now test a dose of 10 micrograms in children between 5 and 11 years of age and 3 micrograms for the age group of 6 months to 5.

For the trial, the pharma company is ready to enroll about 4,500 young volunteers at more than 90 sites in the US, Finland, Poland and Spain. Enrollment of 5- to 11-year-old kids has begun this week, while that of children as young as 6 months will start in a few weeks, reported news agency Reuters.

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Pfizer expects data from 5- to 11-year-old children in September, said a company spokesperson. Data for children 2 to 5 years old could arrive soon after that, he said. It expects to have data from the 6-month to 2-year-old age group sometime in October or November.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is already authorised for emergency use in children as young as 12 in the United States, European Union, and Canada. There, the children receive the same dose as adults -- 30 micrograms.

Nearly 7 million teens have received at least one dose of the vaccine in the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also read | COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: 27.7 lakh doses administered in India on June 8

Meanwhile, the trial of Covaxin -- India's first indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine – has also begun in the country. The trial of the Bharat Biotech jab on children has already started at All India Institute Of Medical Science (AIIMS) Patna to see if the Bharat Biotech jab is suitable for children, while screening of children for trial has begun at AIIMS Delhi.

(With inputs from agencies)

Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jun 9, 2021 09:36 am

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