An interesting research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Frenck and others May 27th 2021 researched this issue.  

Until recently, vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 have not been authorised for emergency use in persons under the age of 16.  

This trial, which is an ongoing multinational placebo controlled observer blinded trial, randomised participants in a one to one ratio to receive two injections 21 days apart of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.  

The immune response in 12 to 15-year-old participants was compared with those in the 16 to 25-year-old participant group.  

Safety and efficacy against confirmed COVID-19 disease was assessed.  

Overall, 2260 adolescents 12 to 15 years of age received injections:

  • 1131 received Pfizer. 
  • 1129 received placebo.  

The Pfizer vaccine had a favourable safety and side effect profile with mainly:

  • Transient mild to moderate reactogenicity 
  • Predominantly-injection site pain in 79-86% of participants 
  • Fatigue in 60-66% 
  • Headache in 55-65% 

The results showed that amongst the participants without evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, no COVID-19 cases with an onset of seven or more days after dose two were noted amongst those who had received the Pfizer vaccine.

16 cases, however, occurred amongst the placebo recipients.  

The observed vaccine efficacy was put down to 100%.  

The researchers concluded that the Pfizer vaccine in 12 to 15-year-old recipients had a favourable safety profile, produced a greater immune response than in young adults highly effective against COVID-19. 

LGP, the leading London doctors’ clinic commends the Government on its vaccination programme and encourages all those eligible to be vaccinated.

Dr Paul Ettlinger

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