The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for adolescents over 12 years of age on Monday.
In this way the FDA updated the permit it gave to Pfizer last December, when it only authorized it for over 16s.
“Expanding pfizer-BioNTech’s covid-19 vaccine emergency authorization is a significant step in the fight against the pandemic,” FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock said in a statement.
The commissioner also stated that “parents and guardians can be sure that the agency conducted a rigorous and thorough review of all available data” before making the decision to authorize the adolescent vaccine.
Canada last week became the first country in the world to authorize Pfizer’s preparation for over-12s, after the pharmaceutical company announced 100% efficacy in a study of 2,260 individuals in that age group at the end of March.
Pfizer was the only FDA-approved vaccine in the United States (the other two are Moderna and Johnson & Johnson)) that was available to 16- and 17-year-olds.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.4 million of these adolescents in the country had received at least one dose of the drug Pfizer by Monday.
Pfizer has also initiated clinical trials of its vaccine in children between 6 months and 11 years of age.
According to experts, immunization of children, which account for about 20% of the U.S. population, is essential to ending the coronavirus pandemic, and notes that the country is unlikely to achieve collective immunity until children are also vaccinated.
To date, 152.8 million Americans (46% of the population) have received at least one dose of the vaccine.