The Food and Drug Administration expanded its emergency use authorization of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to children as young as 12 years old, providing further protections for children and adults as schools expand opening to classroom instruction, the Associated Press reports.
The federal vaccine advisory committee is expected to expand the use of the vaccine to children aged 12 to 15 during a virtual meeting on Wednesday. The vaccine had already been approved for use on people 16 and older, but most states only allow people over the age of 18 to get vaccines at this time.
Pfizer completed a trial in older children to qualify for the FDA usage expansion. Children received the same two-dose regimen as adults get. In a trial of 2,000 child volunteers, none of those receiving the vaccines contracted the coronavirus.
Pfizer’s testing in adolescents “met our rigorous standards,” said FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks. “Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”