COVID-19 vaccines for younger teenagers will help bring the US closer to herd immunity, says GlobalData

Following the news that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized Pfizer and BioNTech’s Comirnaty for adolescents 12 to 15 years of age, following 100% vaccine efficacy in a Phase III trial;

Philipp Rosenbaum, PhD, Senior Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“As the first COVID-19 vaccine developers to receive authorization for this age group, which includes more than 16 million teenagers in the US, Pfizer and BioNTech will be able to increase their market share even further, as Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) vaccines are currently only authorized for adults 18 years of age and older. Comirnaty could establish itself as the go-to-vaccine for teenagers before Moderna, which will seek authorization later this month.

“With the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered per day in the US slowing down significantly as the pool of individuals willing to be vaccinated contracts, the authorization of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for younger teenagers will hopefully get the vaccination effort back up to speed again. Many teenagers will be eager to get back to school and meet friends, and some parents might feel more comfortable doing so if their children are vaccinated. Should COVID-19 vaccines become mandatory for schools and universities like other childhood or adolescent vaccines, such as the meningococcal vaccine, this age group will see a high vaccine uptake.

“Key opinion leaders interviewed by GlobalData about COVID-19 vaccines were also excited about J&J’s vaccine for teenagers. Many teenagers don’t have regularly scheduled doctor’s office visits, so a single dose will be beneficial to confer immunity. Furthermore, as adverse events can be stronger in younger people, especially for the second dose of the mRNA vaccines, the single J&J dose will have another advantage in this low-risk age group in terms of the ratio of vaccine adverse events versus benefits.”

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