Britain approves Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 shot for 12- to 15-year-olds

It would now be up to Britain's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to decide whether to inoculate this age group.
It would now be up to Britain's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to decide whether to inoculate this age group.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Britain's medicines regulator said on Friday (June 4) it had approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for use on 12- to 15-year-olds, following similar clearances in the United States and the European Union.

The regulator said it would now be up to the country's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to decide whether to go ahead and inoculate this age group as part of Britain's vaccination roll-out plan.

Children aged 12 to 15 are already receiving the Pfizer shot in the US, while France, Spain and Germany are planning to start offering it to that age group this month.

Britain's Health and Social Care department said it would provide an update once the JCVI has made its decision.

The chief executive of Britain's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Ms June Raine, said in a statement that her agency had carefully reviewed the clinical trial data in children aged 12 to 15 years old.

"(We) have concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh any risk," she said.

However, giving vaccines to younger people in affluent countries while many parts of the world await doses for older and more vulnerable people has raised concerns. The World Health Organisation has urged rich countries to give shots to the Covax scheme instead.

Over half of British adults have now had both doses of the authorised two-shot Covid-19 inoculations, while more than three-quarters have received at least a single dose.