The Food and Drug Administration has given pharmaceutical giant Pfizer its approval to conduct coronavirus vaccine tests on children, the company announced on its website this week.
Pfizer and its Germany-based partner BioNtech sought FDA permission in September for its Phase 3 trials to include children as young as 12 and got the green light earlier this month.
It will be the first drug company to include children in vaccine trials in the U.S.
Dr. Linda Fu, a pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital in the District, said clinical trials are important in young people.
“It’s really important for testing to begin in children as soon as safety has been established in adults because the longer, we delay, the longer it’ll be until children are able to receive a vaccine,” Fu said, WUSA-TV (Channel 9) reported. “[Children’s] immune systems work differently [from adults]. There may be a different reaction to children than what we see in adults.”
Fu agrees with other officials that data is needed to help researchers develop a safe and effective vaccine for children who may require smaller doses than adults, WUSA reported.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows nearly 280,000 U.S. children, mostly between the ages of 12 and 17, have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since March.