Pfizer-BioNTech announced on Monday that three injections of the COVID-19 vaccine provide strong protection for children under 5 years of age.
“We are delighted that our recipe for the youngest children, which we have carefully selected to make up one-tenth the adult dose, was well tolerated and elicited a strong immune response,” Pfizer CEO Albert Burla said in a statement.
Burla added that companies are looking forward to “completing our statements to regulators around the world in the hope of making this vaccine available to young children as soon as possible, subject to the regulator’s permission”.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is due to meet in June to decide whether to allow children to be vaccinated.
The FDA has already begun evaluating data from Moderna, which says its low dose of the double vaccine provides protection for young children.
Meanwhile, the director of the World Health Organization, Tedras Adhanom Gebreisus, said on Sunday at the 75th World Health Assembly that the COVID pandemic “is definitely not over.”
His warning comes at a time when some countries are revoking their mandates on COVID, as cases are increasing again. “Reported cases are on the rise in almost 70 countries in all regions,” Tedras said. “This virus has amazed us every step of the way – a storm that is tearing communities apart again and again, and we still can’t predict its path or its intensity.”
The head of the WHO said that while more than 6 million deaths from coronavirus were registered in the world, the UN agency estimates that the number of deaths worldwide is much higher and is “almost 15 million deaths.”
Tedras called on countries to do their utmost to eradicate COVID, including vaccinating 70% of its population, including 100% of people over 60; 100% of health professionals; and 100% of people with major diseases.
The WHO leader warned: “The pandemic will not disappear magically. But we can put an end to it… Science has given us an advantage ”.
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported on Monday that more than 525 million global COVID infections and more than 6 million deaths from coronavirus worldwide.