The US Food and Drug Administration has granted an Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer and BioNTech's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine to be given to children between the ages of 12 and 15 years old, CNBC reports.
The FDA initially issued an EUA for the vaccine in December 2020, though its use was limited to individuals 16 years of age and older. In March, Pfizer and BioNTech reported that their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was highly effective in preventing COVID-19 among adolescents, and that they would be using this data to apply to expand their EUA to include this age group.
FDA officials tell CNN that they reviewed the companies' data and concluded that the vaccine response among 12-to-15-year-olds was "excellent" and that the safety profile was similar to that observed in the older population.
As CNBC notes, vaccinating children is seen as a key part of the effort end the COVID-19 pandemic, as they make up about 20 percent of the US population. "Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," Peter Marks, the director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, says in a statement.
Pfizer and BioNTech announced last week that they would also be seeking authorization for their vaccine for use among children between the ages of 2 and 11 in September, CNN adds.