Pfizer will push for its Covid vaccine to be approved for children as young as five, the company announced today — as Britain began injecting healthy 12 to 15-year-olds with the jab for the first time.
The pharmaceutical giant said its trial of around 2,000 children aged five to 11 found a low dose of the vaccine generated a strong immune response and threw up no safety concerns.
American officials are set to review the data in the coming weeks and decide whether to roll out the vaccine to pre-teens in October, with Pfizer also planning to seek authorisation in Europe and the UK.
Pfizer’s trial looked at antibody levels in the blood of primary school-aged children to estimate their immune response, unlike larger trials of older participants which compared Covid cases in the vaccine and control groups.
A spokesperson said the company may later disclose vaccine efficacy from the trial but there had not been enough infections yet among the volunteers.
Pfizer is also trialling its vaccines on babies as young as six months and expects the results of that study to be available by winter, in a move likely to cause international controversy.
While the US is expected to open the vaccination programme to younger groups, at this stage the jab is unlikely to see the same sweeping approval in the UK, which only today started immunising healthy children aged 12 and above.