The vAccino against the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus extremely effective in adolescents aged 12 to 15 years, perhaps even more than in adults. what the two companies reported on Wednesday pointing out that in the clinical trial no children among those who were vaccinated were infected (100% efficacy). The boys have developed strong antibody responses e they did not experience any serious side effects. This is the first clinical trial after the age of 16 to come to a conclusion (Pfizer-BioNTech already authorized from age 16).
To achieve herd immunity, even children must be vaccinated
The result is good news because it could accelerate the return to normalcy even in schools and, depending on when the various regulatory bodies approve the vaccine for minors, the vaccination campaign for them will be able to begin, hopefully. already with the beginning of the next school year. The pharmaceutical company plans to apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States in the coming weeks. It is clear that if we want to at least get closer to herd immunity by limiting the circulation of the virus as much as possible and the risk of the emergence of new variants, the pediatric range cannot be neglected, which represents a quarter of the world population (in Italy the under 18 are just 17%).
Pfizer-BioNTech announced the results with a Press release which did not include trial details. The work has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal, but has been enthusiastically received by experts. In Israel, where the vaccination campaign gallops, 600 children between the ages of 12 and 16 received the first doses of Pfizer / BioNtech without having found serious side effects and conclusion of the trial confirms (at least on the absence of side effects) what has already been seen in the real world.
The results of the study
The study included 2,260 adolescents aged between 12 and 15 years. Children received two doses of the vaccine three weeks apart – the same quantities and the program used for adults – or a placebo (salt water solution). The researchers recorded 18 cases of coronavirus infection in the placebo group and none among the children who received the vaccine. The low number of infections makes it difficult for the moment to specifically evaluate the efficacy of the vaccine on this age group. Teenagers who received the vaccine produced on average much higher antibody levels, compared to volunteers aged 16 to 25 who participated in the previous study. In addition, the children experienced few side effects, just like the elderly.
Pfizer’s trials on minors: scheduled from 6 months
Pfizer and BioNTech have initiated a clinical trial of the vaccine in children under 12 years of age and they started vaccinations last week for those in between 5 and 11. The company’s scientists plan to start testing the vaccine next week in even the youngest children, aged between 2 and 5 years, and later on children aged between 6 months and 2 years. The companies will monitor trial participants for two years to assess the vaccine’s long-term safety and efficacy. The CDC have recommended that children not be vaccinated with other types of vaccines in the two weeks before and two weeks after immunization against the coronavirus.
The other experiments
Moderna a few days ago announced the start of a study that tests its vaccine from 6 months to 11 years and started the phase 2-3 trial on the first 6,750 healthy children enrolled in the United States and Canada. The children will be followed for one year with the aim of checking the safety, tolerability and efficacy of the vaccine. In a separate study, Moderna is already testing its vaccine on 3,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 and results are expected by the summer. Johnson & Johnson has also started testing its single-dose on older children with the aim of testing it later on even the smallest and newborns (among the selected centers there is also Buzzi in Milan). AstraZeneca’s results on trials between the ages of 6 and 17 are also expected by the summer.
March 31, 2021 (change March 31, 2021 | 14:46)