Is Pfizer vaccine in the offing for New Zealand’s young population aged 12-15?

Summary

  • Medsafe gives a go-ahead to the Pfizer vaccine for children between 12-15 years of age, however, it needs green signal from the health ministry.
  • During the trial period, the Pfizer vaccine demonstrated strong anti-body response and mild side effects.
  • Medsafe is contemplating Janssen Pharmaceutical’s vaccine application and would soon give its decision on the same.

The catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the pressing need for efficacious vaccines to safeguard people from the fatal COVID-19 infection.

Nations and pharmaceutical companies worldwide are constantly moving in the direction of creating jab that successfully provides relief to people from the virus.

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What is the latest update on the COVID-19 vaccine for young children?

As per the latest announcement by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the regulatory body accountable for medicinal goods in New Zealand, Medsafe, had given its provisional nod for the utilisation of the Pfizer/BioNTech vial for young children aged 12-15 years.

However, Pfizer/BioNTech shots cannot be booked currently. After consulting the health ministry on the same, the final announcement would be made by the end of June. Till that time, 16 would remain the minimum age for COVID-19 inoculation.

Did you miss reading; Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine gets Medsafe’s go-ahead for roll-out in New Zealand

How does Medsafe function in New Zealand?

Wellington-domiciled Medsafe is a commercial unit of NZ’s health ministry. The regulatory body frequently communicates with pharma entities to collect data pertaining to coronavirus vaccines, which are still in the development phase.  

Do read; Medsafe, its Norwegian counterpart in touch to study side effects of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

What did the Pfizer trials for young children demonstrate?

A strong antibody response was indicated during the Pfizer trials for the 12-15 age bracket, with mild side-effects in sync with observations made in the 16-25 age group trials.

A quick read; Is A Third Vaccine Shot Required To Beat COVID-19? Pfizer Plans To Go Ahead With It

What are the key members from the Labour party-led government saying?

During her post-Cabinet media session, PM Jacinda Ardern mentioned that nearly 265K children fell under the age of 12-15 and the nation’s purchase order for the Pfizer had sufficient jabs to vaccinate them.

She further added that if Medsafe’s decision to go ahead with Pfizer jabs for young children obtained a go-ahead from the cabinet, few children from the under-16 age bracket, especially of MIQ employees would be prioritised for the vaccination process.

Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director General of health, stated that the health ministry was closely watching the development around the trials conducted for the children falling in the age group of 6 to 11 years.

Which are other vaccine applications considered by Medsafe?

Last week, the Government notified that in the latter part of June, Medsafe could give its decision on Janssen Pharmaceutical, which is headquartered in Belgium and a part of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)

Further, Medsafe is also going through the COVID-19-related vaccine application from the UK-based AstraZeneca plc (LON:AZN).

Apart from the three vaccine manufacturers, New Zealand signed a deal with Novavax in December last year. As per the deal, the nation would procure 10.72 million jabs, but would probably get them by the end of this year.


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