On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age. According to the originally EUA, that were released on December 11, 2020, vaccine can be administrated only for individuals 16 years of age and older.
“The FDA’s expansion of the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age is a significant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”
Pfizer and BioNTech comment to the new FDA decision:
“Today’s expansion of our EUA represents a significant step forward in helping the U.S. government broaden its vaccination program and help protect adolescents before the start of the next school year,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “We are grateful to all of our clinical trial volunteers and their families, whose courage helped make this milestone possible. Together, we hope to help bring a sense of normalcy back to young people across the country and around the world.”
In addition, the pediatric study evaluating the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in children 6 months to 11 years of age is ongoing. Pfizer and BioNTech expect to have definitive readouts and, subject to the data generated, submit for an EUA or a variation to Conditional Marketing Authorizations for two cohorts, including children 2-5 years of age and 5-11 years of age, in September. The readout and submission for the cohort of children 6 months to 2 years of age are expected in the fourth quarter.
“Since securing the EUA in December for individuals 16 years and older, we have been working tirelessly to get our COVID-19 vaccine authorized around the world so that governments can provide it to as many people as possible,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech. “Our work is not yet complete, as we continue our research into the use of our vaccine in pediatric populations. Our goal is to submit data for pre-school and school-age children in September.”
The FDA Comment On Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 EUA
The FDA has determined that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has met the statutory criteria to amend the EUA, and that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine in individuals 12 years of age and older outweigh the known and potential risks, supporting the vaccine’s use in this population.
The FDA based its decision on data from a pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial, which enrolled 2,260 participants aged 12 to 15 years. Topline results from this trial, announced on March 31, 2021, showed a vaccine efficacy of 100% in participants with or without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection and robust antibody responses. In the trial, the vaccine was also generally well tolerated. Participants will continue to be monitored for long-term protection and safety for an additional two years after their second dose.
“Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “With science guiding our evaluation and decision-making process, the FDA can assure the public and medical community that the available data meet our rigorous standards to support the emergency use of this vaccine in the adolescent population 12 years of age and older.”