European Medicines Agency authorises COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5 to 11

Drug regulators in the UK, US and Europe have approved Covid-19 vaccines for those aged 12 or older. (Photo: Getty Images)

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved the use of Pfizer-COVID-19 BioNTech’s vaccination in children aged 5 to 11. The jab, now called Comirnaty, will be administered in two doses three weeks apart, although at a reduced dosage.

With the Pfizer vaccine already approved for use in persons aged 12 and above, and the primary vaccine used in Malta’s immunisation programme, the introduction of Comirnaty may help spread immunity even further. The EMA stated on Thursday that “the effectiveness of Comirnaty was calculated in over 2,000 children aged 5 to 11 years old who had no evidence of the prior illness.”

Health Minister Chris Fearne stated that the Maltese health authorities will be able to begin administering Comirnaty to children in mid-December. The most prevalent negative effects found in children in this recommended age group are the same as those observed in anybody over the age of 12. The adverse effects, which include fatigue, headaches, and potential swelling, normally subside within a few days following immunisation and are mild to moderate.