In a late-stage trial studying more than 2,200 adolescents, not a single vaccinated person became infected with COVID-19, Pfizer said in a press release. The results suggest the vaccine may be even more effective in 12-to-15-year-olds than it is in adults.
Pfizer has not yet released the trial data. The company said it will submit the data to the FDA for emergency approval “in the coming weeks.”
If it wins approval, Pfizer’s vaccine will be the first in the United States to be given out to children younger than 16. Scientists believe that vaccinating children will be crucial toward achieving “herd immunity” — when so many people have immunity to COVID-19 that the virus is no longer able to spread effectively.
Pfizer said that the trial showed the vaccine to be safe in 12-to-15-year-olds, with side effects “generally consistent with those observed in participants 16 to 25 years of age.”
Pfizer’s vaccine was first authorized for emergency use for people 16 and older in December, and millions of Americans have received doses of it since. A clinical trial last fall found it was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection in adults; a recent study showed similar results in the “real world” since its approval.
Pfizer said it is conducting trials in children younger than 12 years old.