Pfizer to test COVID-19 vaccine in larger group of children below 12

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Medical syringe is seen with Pfizer company logo displayed on a screen in the background in this illustration photo taken in Poland on November 16, 2020. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Pfizer on Tuesday said it will begin testing its COVID-19 vaccine in a bigger group of children under age 12 after selecting a lower dose of the shot in an earlier stage of the trial.

Up to 4,500 children will be enrolled for the study at more than 90 clinical sites in the United States, Finland, Poland and Spain, the company said.

Based on safety, tolerability and the immune response generated by 144 children in a phase I study of the two-dose shot, Pfizer said it will test a dose of 10 micrograms in children between 5 and 11 years of age and 3 micrograms for the age group of 6 months to 5.

The vaccine – made by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SA – has been authorized for use in children as young as 12 in Europe, the United States and Canada. They receive the same dose as adults: 30 micrograms.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 7 million teens have received at least one dose of the vaccine in the United States,

Inoculating children and young people is considered a critical step toward reaching “herd immunity” and taming the COVID-19 pandemic.

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