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Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is effective in kids as young as 12

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Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is 100 percent effective in kids aged 12 to 15, the company said Wednesday — raising hopes that adolescents could start getting the jab before the next school year.

The groundbreaking shot generated “robust” immune responses to the deadly coronavirus among that age group that outpaced the reaction recorded in 16-to-25-year-olds, the Manhattan-based drugmaker said.

Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, drew those conclusions from a clinical trial of their vaccine in 2,260 US adolescents. Some 18 participants came down with COVID-19 after getting a placebo but none of the 1,131 kids who received the vaccine contracted the virus, the firms said.

The shot was also “well tolerated” among 12-to-15-year-olds and generated side effects “generally consistent” with those seen in older teens and young adults, according to the companies.

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Pfizer and BioNTech plan to submit the new data to drug regulators in the US and Europe “with the hope of starting to vaccinate this age group before the start of the next school year,” according to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

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“It is very important to enable them to get back to everyday school life and to meet friends and family while protecting them and their loved ones,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in a statement.

While the data have not been peer-reviewed, Pfizer and BioNTech hope the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency will amend their emergency approvals for the vaccine so it can be distributed to adolescents as soon as possible. Both regulators have only cleared the shot for use in people 16 and older.

Pfizer and BioNTech have also started studying the vaccine in children between 6 months and 11 years old. Kids aged 5 to 11 in the study received their first doses last week and dosing will start in the 2-to-5-year-old cohort will begin next week, the companies said.

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Pfizer shares climbed about 0.6 percent to $36.32 in premarket trading as of 7:54 a.m.

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