(Reuters) – The European Union’s drug regulator launched a review to evaluate whether the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can be used as a third booster shot in adolescents aged 12 to 15, even after several countries in the region have already started such a campaign.
In its statement on Tuesday, the European Medicines Agency added that a review of booster shots given to 16- and 17-year-old teenagers was ongoing.
Germany’s vaccine committee last month recommended that all children between the ages of 12 and 17 receive a booster, following the initial two-shot course, as infection rates continue to soar among youngsters in particular. Other states in the region followed suit.
EMA added on Tuesday that “advice on how vaccinations should be given remains the prerogative” of member states’ advisory groups.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a separate report on Tuesday that findings so far suggest an increase of vaccine effectiveness against infection in adolescents who received a booster compared to adolescents who have recently completed the primary vaccination course.
It added, however, that no data was yet available on the duration of protection from a booster dose and on the additional effectiveness against severe disease.
The ECDC said 10 countries in the European Economic Area, which comprises the 27 EU member states plus Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway, had already recommended a booster dose for those under 18 years of age.