Pfizer-BioNTech filed Friday for approval to use the Covid-19 vaccine in 12-15 year olds in the United States, which could be a critical next step in achieving herd immunity.
Mass vaccination of teenagers would also take a huge toll on parents juggling the demands of homeschooling their children while keeping up with work.
The companies said in a statement that they plan to launch similar requests from other regulators around the world in the coming days.
Your request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration comes after Phase 3 clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds showed that it was 100 percent effective against the disease, according to the companies.
In late March, they released the results of studies of 2,260 adolescents in the United States that the companies said had “robust antibody responses.”
The vaccine is “well tolerated with side effects that are generally consistent with those of participants aged 16 to 25,” the company said on Friday.
Currently the vaccine has an emergency approval for people aged 16 and over.
Children are less likely to develop severe Covid. Therefore, vaccination was less important than vaccination of the elderly.
But they make up a large part of the community that needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity if the proportion of people with antibodies largely prevents the virus from spreading.
Experts don’t know exactly what percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated to get to this point, but one of the leading U.S. immunologists, Anthony Fauci, put it between 70 and 85 percent.
In February, he said US children under the age of 12 could very likely be vaccinated by early 2022.
The BioNTech / Pfizer shot is based on the new mRNA technology and was the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved in the West late last year.
In March, the US biotech company Moderna announced that it had started studies on children between the ages of six months and eleven years. Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine was the third approved for use in the United States, has also started studies in the 12-17 age group.