EU regulator approves COVID shot for 5-11 year olds

The European Union's drug regulator approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11 on Thursday (November 25).

The green light comes as Europe is again the epicenter of the pandemic, accounting for about half of cases and deaths.

Inoculating teenagers and children could be a critical step towards taming the global health crisis.

In Germany and the Netherlands, kids now account for the majority of cases.

The European Medicines Agency or EMA recommended that children should be given the injection in two 10 microgram doses, three weeks apart - adult doses are 30 micrograms.

However, countries will not be able to start rolling out shots for younger children until next month.

According to a spokesperson for BioNTech, the first of the low-dose pediatric version will be delivered on December 20.

While final approval is up to the European Commission, it typically follows EMA recommendations.

An EU source told Reuters that a decision would likely come on Friday (November 26).

The bloc joins a growing number of countries, including United States, Canada, Israel, China and Saudi Arabia, to clear vaccines for children in the 5-11 year age group and younger.

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that as children and adolescents are at lower risk of severe COVID-19, countries should prioritize adults and sharing doses with the COVAX program which supplies vaccines to the world's poorest countries.

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