‘The data is quite promising’: Boston Children’s doctor weighs in on COVID-19 vaccine for kids

BOSTON — The FDA is poised to authorize Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in children 12 to 15 years old by early next week, and administration of the vaccine to them could start almost immediately.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said the federal government plans to make about 20,000 pharmacy sites across the country ready to vaccinate those adolescents.

According to Pfizer, clinical trials showed the vaccine elicits “100% efficacy and robust antibody responses” in adolescents from 12 to 15 years old.

The pending authorization comes as children now account for a growing number of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids represent 22% of new cases in the past week.

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“The more people we can immunize safely and effectively, the faster we can return to a situation where we don’t really have to worry about wearing masks and being physically distant,” said Dr. Rick Malley with the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Malley, who’s also a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, said Pfizer’s data shows kids in the 12 to 15 age group may have better antibody responses to the vaccine than young adults.

“The data is suggesting that the stronger your immune response is, the more likely you are to be protected against this virus. The data is quite promising,” Malley explained.

Malley told Boston 25 News that the efficacy and safety profile in the 12-to-15 age group should offer reassurance to parents.

“There isn’t a lot of biological reason why a child who’s 12-years-old or 13-years-old would respond very differently than somebody’s who’s 18 or 20,” Malley added.

Four months from now, in September, Pfizer expects to apply for emergency use authorization to administer its vaccine to children as young as 2.

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