The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine could be ready for children ages 12 to 15 by the start of the upcoming school year, Dr. William Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of vaccine clinical research and development, said Thursday.
Pfizer says it has evaluated its vaccine in 2,259 children between 12 and 15 years-old and plans to share safety and efficacy data soon.
“Our goal is to get this information submitted to the FDA as soon as possible,” Gruber told NBC. “If all goes as planned, the vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds could be ready as soon as the start of the next school year.”
The entire population could benefit from school-age kids getting vaccinated, Gruber noted.
“I think that adding the school-age population, based on recommendations from the FDA and the CDC, could go a long way in helping us reach herd protection,” he said.
Gruber explained what these trials aim to find.
“I think we need to see what the immune response, in short, is, specifically, how much antibody they make that can kill the virus. Is it comparable to what we see in adults?” he said. “If it is, then I think we have reason to have great confidence that the vaccine will likely protect children as well as it does adults.”
Gruber noted that Pfizer also aims to ensure children don’t have side effects to the vaccine that are more extreme than those seen in adults.
Some context: This week, the first children received a shot in phase 1 of Pfizer-BioNTech’s trial of children under the age of 12. The company expects results by the end of 2021.