U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, Friday released data from studies showing their COVID-19 vaccine is safe and 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in 5 to 11 year olds.
In results of the study, Pfizer says the trial was conducted among 2,268 children between the ages of 5-11 who were given two shots of a 10-microgram dose of the vaccine, a third of the dose size given to people 12 and older.
The study was released four days before the Food and Drug Administration’s independent advisory committee is scheduled to consider emergency approval for use of the vaccine on children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent advisory committee takes up the issue November 2 and 3.
In anticipation of the emergency approval, the White House this week announced plans to deliver enough child doses of the vaccine to all 28 million children between the ages of 5 and 11 currently living in the United States.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday continued to dismiss calls for renewed COVID-19 restrictions, saying there is nothing to indicate those moves will be necessary in the coming months, despite the fact Britain is currently seeing a dramatic surge in COVID-19 infections.
Speaking to reporters while touring a London vaccination facility, Johnson said the current surge in infections is high, but still within the parameters experts predicted.
Instead, Johnson encouraged people to get vaccinated if they have not already done so, and for those eligible to get a booster vaccination. The British government has approved booster shots for everyone over 50.
Britain currently has the highest daily number of infections in Europe, averaging more than 45,000 a day, up 17% from the previous week. The World Health Organization reported this week that Britain has among the highest number of daily new infections in Europe, the only part of the world that saw an increase in new cases last week.
Late Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended booster shots for millions who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines, and said the booster does not necessarily have to match the original shot.
Rochelle Walensky, the head of the government agency, OK’d the recommendations by an advisory panel Thursday, putting the CDC on the same page as the Food and Drug Administration.
The booster shot for Pfizer vaccine was approved in September.
The CDC committee has recommended that people age 18 and older and who were vaccinated two months or more ago with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a booster shot.
Those 65 or older inoculated with two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are recommended for a booster six months or more after the second dose.
The CDC also recommended a booster for those 18 or older in long-term care facilities, have pre-existing medical conditions, as well as those who live or work in high-risk settings.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.