On day 558 of what feels like a neverending pandemic, Pfizer-BioNTech announced that its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine is effective in children. In a press release on Monday, the companies, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, revealed that their vaccine was tested in a trial of 2,268 kindergartners and elementary school-aged kids and it seems to work just fine.
Here’s more from the Associated Press:
For elementary school-aged kids, Pfizer tested a much lower dose — a third of the amount that’s in each shot given now. Yet after their second dose, children ages 5 to 11 developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults, Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president, told The Associated Press.
The kid dosage also proved safe, with similar or fewer temporary side effects — such as sore arms, fever or achiness — that teens experience, he said.
“I think we really hit the sweet spot,” said Gruber, who’s also a pediatrician.
The study is still ongoing, AP reports, and as more COVID-19 cases are reported, the companies will be able to compare the rates of infection between vaccinated children and those given a placebo as additional evidence.
The companies will apply to the FDA this month for emergency use authorization, according to NBC News. The Pfizer vaccine is already given to 12 to 15-year-olds under the FDA’s emergency use authorization.
As children return to school in the U.S., COVID-19 cases in children have surged. NBC reports that almost 5.3 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. During the week of Sept. 9, more than 243,000 cases were reported— the second-highest number of pediatric cases recorded in just a week.
Other pharmaceutical corporations, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, are also researching the use of their vaccines for elementary-aged children. AP reports that both Pfizer and Moderna are testing the effectiveness in younger children, including six-month-old infants. Moderna previously announced that it is also working on a booster shot that will help defend against both coronavirus and the flu.