The European Union’s drug regulator recommended on Thursday approval of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for use on children aged 5 to 11, paving the way for the shots to be given to millions of primary schoolchildren amid a new wave of infections sweeping the continent.
This is the first time the European Medicines Agency has approved a COVID-19 vaccine for use in young children. The agency said it “recommended that the use of the COVID-19 Comirnaty vaccine be extended to children aged 5 to 11 years.”
A press release summarizing the decision said a panel concluded that the benefits of the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 “outweigh the risks, particularly in those with conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 infection.”
While final approval is left to the European Commission, it usually follows the recommendations of the EMA.
‼️ EMA recommends approval of #COVID19vaccine From BioNTech/Pfizer, for kids ages 5-11.
In this population, the dose #Comirnaty They will be lower than those used in people 12 years of age and older.
At least one country facing rising infections has not waited for EMA approval. Authorities in the Austrian capital, Vienna, have already started vaccinating the 5- to 11-year-old age group. Europe is currently at the epicenter of the pandemic, and the World Health Organization has warned that the continent could see the death toll rise to two million by spring unless urgent measures are taken.
Earlier this week, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said shipments of vaccines to younger children in the European Union would begin on December 20.
Health Minister Olivier Veran said France’s medical ethics body and health regulator will examine whether or not children in France aged 5 to 11 should get the COVID-19 vaccine. Veran added, Thursday, that any vaccination of children in France between the ages of 5 and 11 years will not take place before 2022.
The United States signed off on baby-sized footage from Pfizer earlier this month, followed by other countries including Canada.
Pfizer tested a dose equal to one-third the amount given in adults to children of primary school age. Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s vice president, told The Associated Press that even with the smaller shot, kids ages 5 to 11 developed levels of anti-coronavirus antibodies just as strong as teens and young adults who get the regular strength shots. Click in September.
But studies of Pfizer’s vaccine in children were not large enough to detect any rare side effects from the second dose, such as the chest infection and heart infection seen mostly in older teens and young adults.
Although children often have mild symptoms of COVID-19, some public health experts believe that immunizing them should be a priority to reduce the ongoing spread of the virus, which could theoretically lead to the emergence of a dangerous new variant.
Earlier this month, the Anti-Virus Agency said it began evaluating the use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 to 11. She estimated that a decision would be made within two months.
— From the Associated Press, with files from Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 7:35 a.m. ET
What’s happening all over Canada
What is happening around the world
As of early Thursday morning, more than 259.6 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker. The reported global death toll has reached more than 5.1 million.
in a EuropeOfficial figures show Germany is the latest country to pass 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Germany’s disease control agency said on Thursday that it had recorded 351 additional deaths in connection with the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. This brings the total number of dead to 100,119.
Germany is the fifth country to receive this mark in Europe after Russia, the United Kingdom, Italy and France. The Robert Koch Institute is a federal agency that collects data from about 400 regional health offices. She said Germany also set a record daily confirmed cases at 75,961 in a 24-hour period. Germany has recorded more than 5.57 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak.
As delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa Many countries are struggling in the logistics to speed up vaccination campaigns, the head of Africa’s disease control authority said Thursday.
Only 6.6 percent of Africa’s 1.2 billion people have been fully vaccinated, Dr John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a virtual press conference. This, he said, puts the continent away from meeting the African Union’s target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of Africans by the end of next year. He stated that the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon face special logistical challenges, but he said many other African countries face similar problems.
In the AmericasThe White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) said a total of 92 percent of US federal workers have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, consistent with the administration’s mandate.
Health Minister Fernando Ruiz said Colombia will seek to vaccinate more than 80 percent of its population against COVID-19, up from the previous target of 70 percent, as it looks to reduce risks posed by other waves of the pandemic.
In the Middle eastIran saw 41,523 new COVID-19 cases and 810 new deaths last week, according to the weekly situation report released by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
In the Asia Pacific The two countries said Singapore and Malaysia will launch a quarantine-free travel lane next week at their land border crossing for vaccinated people.
— From The Associated Press, Reuters, and CBC News, last updated at 7:25 a.m. ET