The European Commission on Friday authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12, paving the way for a broader roll-out in the bloc after similar clearances in the United States and Canada. The decision comes after European Medicines Agency (EMA) backed the use of the vaccine in 12- to 15-year olds earlier in the day. The agency’s endorsement came weeks after it began evaluating extending use of the vaccine to include that age group. The vaccine is already being used in the European Union for those aged 16 and above.
The EMA said two doses of the vaccine, branded as Comirnaty, were required in the 12-15 age group and should be administered with an interval of at least three weeks, the same as for adults, adding that it was up to individual EU states to decide if and when to offer the vaccine to teenagers. Distribution and administration of the vaccine by the EU member states will continue to be determined according to the populations identified in the EU and as per national guidance, Pfizer and BioNTech said.