CDC Panel Endorses Pfizer Vaccine for Adolescents as Young as 12

CDC Panel Endorses Pfizer Vaccine for Adolescents as Young as 12
High school student Kelly Zhou, 17, receives her first Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine administered by Medical Assistants from St. John's Well Child and Family Center at Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 23, 2021. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

A federal advisory panel approved the use of the Pfizer vaccine on children aged 12 to 15 on May 12.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which offers assistance to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), voted unanimously, 14–0, in favor of the vaccine, saying that after evaluating trial evidence, it showed no cases of severe allergic reactions or Bell’s Palsy on the age group, and none of them contracted COVID-19.

“This will provide protection for 12 to 15-year-olds,” said Dr. Henry Bernstein, a member of the advisory committee and professor of pediatrics at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, according to Reuters.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signed the panel’s recommendation, and the agency is now recommending the vaccine be used among children aged 12 and older.

“For vaccination to do its job, we must do our critical part. That means vaccinating as many people as possible who are eligible. This official CDC action opens vaccination to approximately 17 million adolescents in the United States and strengthens our nation’s efforts to protect even more people from the effects of COVID-19. Getting adolescents vaccinated means their faster return to social activities and can provide parents and caregivers peace of mind knowing their family is protected,” Walensky said in a statement.

On May 10, the FDA approved the usage expansion for the Pfizer vaccine.

Pfizer’s testing in adolescents “met our rigorous standards,” FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said in a statement.

Pfizer isn’t the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. Moderna recently said preliminary results from its study in 12- to 17-year-olds show strong protection and no serious side effects, data the FDA will need to scrutinize.

Last week, Biden administration officials said the goal will be to apply at least one COVID-19 shot to 70 percent of adults in the nation and to get 160 million adults fully vaccinated by Independence Day.

The goal comes as authorities encounter increasing opposition against the vaccine due to hesitation over concerns of side effects, safety, efficacy, the speed at which it was made ready, mistrust in pharmaceutical companies, and an aversion to vaccine passports.

Some children are already having their sleeves rolled up for inoculation.

States such as Georgia, Delaware, and Arkansas started to offer vaccination of younger teens on May 11.

According to Quartz, Pfizer is expecting to sell $15 billion in vaccines in 2021 alone.

Pfizer is the first company to have been approved for advanced market use, they expect a 6 percent growth in 2021—moving toward about $60 billion in earnings from $42 billion made last year, which would make it one of the most profitable drugs on the globe.

From Dec. 14, 2020, to May 3, the publicly available Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System received 4,178 reports of deaths among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.

In a recent data update, the CDC states that less than 6 percent of deaths involving COVID-19 were due to COVID-19 alone. For the rest of the cases, there was an average of “4.0 additional conditions or causes per death.”
According to recent data from the American Academy of Pediatrics: “Children were 0.00%–0.21% of all COVID-19 deaths, and 9 states reported zero child deaths. ​In states reporting, 0.00%–0.03% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death.”
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.