WASHINGTON – Pfizer said on Thursday it had started clinical trials of its Covid vaccine in children under eleven, an early sign of the next step in the global vaccination campaign.
“In collaboration with our partner BioNTech, we assayed the first healthy children in a continuous global phase 1/2/3 study to further assess the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine” the company said in a statement to AFP.
“We are proud to launch this indispensable study for children and families who are eagerly awaiting a possible vaccine option.”
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According to details posted on clinictrials.gov, the company is testing three different dosage levels for use in this age group.
The company is already testing vaccines on children ages 12 to 15, and its US emergency clearance covers people ages 16 and older.
Pfizer is joining Moderna and AstraZeneca to test their vaccines in young children, while Johnson & Johnson plans to follow.
While children are generally spared the worst of the disease and are less likely than adults to transmit the virus, rare severe cases of Covid and death occur, along with a post-infectious inflammatory condition called MIS-C.
Those under the age of 18 make up about one-fifth of America’s population of 330 million, and most experts believe that advances in childhood immunization will be necessary in order to achieve population-level immunity.