So far, the Covid-19 vaccine, which the Mainz-based company developed together with the US manufacturer, has been conditionally approved for adolescents aged 16 and over. Children between the ages of eleven and six months were now included in the studies. Pfizer and Biontech reported that the first subjects received the first doses on Thursday.
First promising data
The company’s vaccine is based on mRNA technology. During vaccination, the blueprint for typical virus proteins is packed in a fatty shell and enters the body. The body cells then produce the virus proteins, the immune system reacts to them and forms antibodies.
Vaccination reactions indicate that the body is dealing with the vaccine. Pain at the injection site, fatigue and headache are some of the most common complaints. They are harmless and disappear on their own, but should not be too violent or stronger than necessary for good vaccination protection.
The competition is also testing
Biontech / Pfizer competitors Moderna and AstraZeneca have also already started testing their Covid-19 vaccines on younger children. The US manufacturer Johnson & Johnson plans to follow suit soon.
AstraZeneca is studying the efficacy and safety of its product in the UK on 300 children between 6 and 17 years of age. Like Johnson & Johnson’s, the vaccine is based on vector technology. Instead of being packaged in fat droplets, the genetic blueprint of typical virus proteins is transported into the body with the help of a virus that is harmless to humans.
Moderna also started testing its mRNA vaccine on 12 to 17 year olds in the USA at the beginning of December. The company will initially have these results checked by the European Medicines Agency (Ema). Studies with younger children should then take place. This vaccine is also unlikely to be available to the younger target group until 2022.
Children rarely get seriously ill, but pass the virus on
As a rule, children are spared severe Covid-19 diseases, but there are also isolated cases of serious diseases and even deaths. In addition, infected children can pass on the novel coronavirus.
According to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the seven-day incidence in children up to 14 years of age was over 100 in the past week, which is similar to the population average. For 15 to 19 year olds, the value was even higher at 139.
Before they were approved, the Covid-19 vaccines were tested primarily with a view to their ability to prevent diseases. In the meantime, however, it is becoming apparent that they also significantly reduce the risk of infections with the Sars-CoV-2 virus and thus its spread.
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Coronavirus Biontech tests Covid19 vaccine children