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South Africa Approves Pfizer Vaccine for Children Aged Over 12

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South Africa has approved Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine for use for children over the age of 12, a boost to the country’s immunization program.

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The move follows a review of updated safety and efficacy information and doesn’t translate into a procurement decision, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority said on Sunday. Regulators approved the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech SE for local use in adults in March.

Africa’s most developed country has been the hardest hit by the pandemic, reporting the the highest number of infections. Around 12% of the nation has been fully vaccinated, with the country of about 60 million people now bracing for a fourth wave of infections to hit in early December.

Recall that the World Health Organisation had recently disclosed that a phase 3 trial of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in children aged between 12 – 15 showed “high efficacy and good safety in this age group, leading to an extension of the previous age indication from 16 years onwards down to age 12 onwards.

The WHO had in a statement said, “Evidence suggests that adolescents, particularly older adolescents, are as likely to transmit SARS-CoV-2 as adults.

WHO recommends that countries should consider using the vaccine in children aged 12 to 15 only when high vaccine coverage with 2 doses has been achieved in the high priority groups as identified in the WHO Prioritization Roadmap.

“Children 12-15 years of age with comorbidities that put them at significantly higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, alongside other high-risk groups, may be offered vaccination.”

Source: Henrietta/ punch

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