EU drug regulator approves Pfizer vaccine for young children

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The European Union’s Drug Regulator on Thursday approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in children aged 5 to 11, as Europe struggles with a resurgence of COVID cases.

The European Medicines Agency’s recommendation will now be sent to the European Commission for final approval. The health authorities for each country in the block will then see if and when they should start inoculating children.

While children remain at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease and death compared to the adult population, they can still transmit the disease to others. Children now account for the majority of cases in Germany and the Netherlands, and authorities say vaccination is crucial to slowing the spread.

The COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective in preventing hospitalization and death, and the US Federal Drug Administration has found that the vaccine formula for 5- to 11-year-olds, called Comirnaty, has an effectiveness rate of 90.7%.

“The benefits of Comirnaty in children aged 5 to 11 years outweigh the risks, especially in those with conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19,” the EMA said in a statement.

The approval comes as Europe faces a fourth wave of the pandemic. More than 100,000 people have died in Germany since the start of the pandemic as a result of COVID-19, a public health agency said Thursday. Neighboring Austria, which last week became the first European country to make COVID vaccination a legal requirement, returned to a full national lockdown on Monday, while the Netherlands has introduced a three weeks partial lockdown.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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