BioNTech to seek approval for Covid jabs for younger children

Company behind Pfizer vaccine expected to file results of trial of five- to 11-year-olds with regulator soon

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Last modified on Fri 10 Sep 2021 07.45 EDT

The German company BioNTech, which developed the Pfizer vaccine, expects to seek approval from regulators for Covid jabs suited for younger children as early as mid-October, its founders have said.

“Already over the next few weeks we will file the results of our trial in five- to 11-year-olds with regulators across the world and will request approval of the vaccine in this age group, also here in Europe,” BioNTech’s chief medical officer, Özlem Türeci, told the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

Türeci said her company was working on producing the vaccine, which was the same product being administered to adults and children aged 12 and older but in smaller doses.

“Things are looking good, everything is going according to plan,” said the chief executive, Ugur Şahin, who added that the company was also expecting trial data for younger children aged over six months.

Israel in late July gave the green light for vaccinations with the BioNTech/Pfizer jab to children aged five to 11 at risk of serious health complications, such as brain, heart or lung problems.

The founders of the Mainz-based company told Der Spiegel there was great urgency to increase the protection of Germany’s population through immunisation before the onset of autumn.

“There are around 60 days left for us as a society to avoid a hard winter”, said Şahin. “We should do everything possible to mobilise as many people as possible in the next two months.”

Germany has administered at least one dose of a vaccine to 66.3% of the population, thus lagging behind comparably sized European countries such as France, the UK, Italy and Spain.

With the electoral race before a national vote on the successor to the outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel, in full swing, Germany’s leading parties have been reluctant to propose measures that could be seen to discriminate those who decline to take a Covid-19 vaccine.

The German vaccination advisory committee, Stiko, on Friday recommended that women who were pregnant in the second and third trimester or breastfeeding should also be vaccinated with an mRNA-based jab.

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