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BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine '100% effective' for teens

March 31, 2021

New clinical trial data shows "topline results" for kids between 12 to 15-years-old, Pfizer and BioNTech said. Vaccinating children will be crucial for stopping the pandemic and helping schools look more normal.

A medical worker loads a syringe with the BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine
Pfizer and BioNTech say trials show their vaccine is highly effective for teensImage: Marwan Naamani/dpa/picture alliance

The BioNTech-Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is safe and highly effective forchildrenbetween the ages of 12 and 15, according to a new study published Wednesday.

In a joint statement, the German and US firms said that the vaccine had "demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses" in Phase 3 trials carried out on 2,260 adolescent volunteers in the United States.

The study is comparatively small and unpublished. Eighteen cases were identified among the control group, versus none among those receiving the vaccine.

Israel's Health Minister Yuli Edelstein was among the first to respond to the data, calling it "terrific news" on Twitter.

"There is nothing more in order now than a speedy approval of more vaccine procurements, so we can be poised to vaccinate immediately on FDA approval," he wrote. 

The FDA is the US Food and Drug Administration, its regulatory body for medical products.

AstraZeneca, the company behind a British-developed jab, said last month that it would carry out trials on some 300 children aged 6 to 17.

The vaccine has been linked this year with a very rare form of blood clotting in the brain, prompting some European countries to halt its use in younger adults 

Moderna, the US company behind another Covid vaccine, says it will test its doses on 12- to 17-year-olds.

What did the latest Pfizer trial reveal?

Both vaccines and vaccination efforts have concentrated on older adult populations. The US and the EU have approved the vaccine's use for everyone aged 16 and above.  

The trial aims to help facilitate accelerated reopening of schools, at least upper classes, seeking to restore classrooms to normal after a year of disruption. 

Results were seen as "very encouraging given the trends we have seen in recent weeks regarding the B117 UK variant," said the chief executive and co-founder of the German company BioNTech, Ugur Sahin

jm-jf/msh (AP, AFP)