Miami Herald

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5to11

- BY LAURAN NEERGAARD

Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorizat­ion for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinatio­ns for youngsters.

The vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is available for anyone 12 and older. But with kids back in school and the extra-contagious delta variant causing a huge jump in pediatric infections, many parents want vaccinatio­ns for their younger children.

For elementary schoolaged kids, Pfizer tested a much lower dose — a third of the amount that’s in each shot given now. Yet after their second dose, children ages 5 to 11 developed coronaviru­s-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults getting the regular-strength shots, Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president, told The Associated Press.

The kid dosage also proved safe, with similar or fewer temporary side effects — such as sore arms, fever or achiness — that teens experience, he said.

“I think we really hit the sweet spot,” said Gruber, who’s also a pediatrici­an.

Gruber said the companies aim to apply to the Food and Drug Administra­tion by the end of the month for emergency use in this age group, followed shortly afterward with applicatio­ns to European and British regulators.

An outside expert said scientists want to see more details but called the report encouragin­g.

“These topline results are very good news,” said Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, a former FDA vaccine chief.

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