EU bring forward launch of COVID-19 vaccine for children

pharmafile | December 1, 2021 | News story | Research and Development  

The rollout of Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine version for children aged five to 11 years old will begin on 13 December, and is a European Union-wide introduction. This launch arrives one week earlier than previously planned. The news was revealed by Germany’s acting Health Minister, Jens Spahn.

This follows the EMA approval of Pfizer’s vaccine Comirnaty for children under 12 in late November, as Europe struggled with rising infection rates from the Delta variant. Initial plans were for vaccine delivery to commence on 20 December. Countries including Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Italy saw strain on healthcare systems with high new coronavirus cases, with the Netherlands, Belgium, and Austria considering stricter measures in response.

Recorded infections among school-age children in Germany have surged, and have been around twice as high as the overall average across ages over the last few weeks, a statistic which the earlier introduction of the children’s vaccine hopes to combat.

“Given the current pandemic situation, this is good news for parents and children. Many are awaiting this eagerly,” shared Jens Spahn.

Dr Tony Holohan, Irish public health physician who has served as CMO of Ireland since May 2008, shared in a letter to parents and guardians of children in school across the country that he welcomed the EMA authorisation of the vaccine: “We anticipate receiving further advice from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) in the near future,” he wrote. The NIAC must grant approval to the decision before the vaccination programme can begin in Ireland.

Germany is to receive 2.4 million doses of the vaccine Corminaty for use as a two-dose regimen. A BioNTech spokesperson has also confirmed the earlier launch, adding that the possibility of the launch is currently contingent on the production batch passing quality control checks.

Ana Ovey

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