EU approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12-15 year olds
The EMA has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15 year olds.
Individual EU member states can now decide if they will offer the jab to children.
Pfizer-BioNTech is the first vaccine to get the green light for children in the bloc.
Germany has said it will start vaccinating children over the age of 12 from 7 June, following the authorisation by the EMA.
The United States and Canada have both already authorised the vaccine for children of the same age.
European Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, announced the decision on Twitter, saying: “Member states can now choose to expand their vaccination roll-out to young people.
“To put an end to the crisis, every dose counts.”
Marco Cavaleri, the EMA’s Head of Vaccine Strategy, said: “From a safety perspective, the vaccine was well tolerated and the side effects in this age group were very much similar to what we have seen in young adults and not raising major concerns at this point in time.
“It is up to them to decide whether they want to restrict the use just in adolescents who are at higher risk of COVID-19 because of comorbidities or other factors, versus using this vaccine in a broader population,” he added.
WHO Head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently called on wealthy countries to donate coronavirus vaccinations to poorer countries rather than immediately starting to vaccinate children.
Young people and teenagers do not often get severely ill from the virus, but experts advise that they get the jab as they can pass it on to other people.