Those with teenagers wishing for the greater travel freedom likely to come with proof of vaccination may have cause for hope. On 7 May 2021, Pfizer submitted an authorisation application to Swissmedic, Switzerland’s drug approval agency, for use of its vaccine against Covid-19 on those aged 12 to 15 years old.
The application asks for the authorisation of the vaccine, which is currently being used on adults in Switzerland, to be extended to include the age group of 12-15-year-olds.
Swissmedic will review the application using a rolling procedure. This means that Pfizer can submit the latest data continuously without having to wait for the conclusive results from the clinical studies. The duration of the rolling review will depend on the completeness of the data submitted and the results of the clinical trials.
A week earlier, Pfizer/BioNTech submitted corresponding applications to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On 10 May 2021, the US FDA approved the emergency use of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on adolescents aged 12 to 15 years old.
The risk of someone in this age band dying from Covid-19 is very low. However, there is evidence that adolescents are involved in transmitting the virus along with evidence suggesting vaccination significantly reduces the chance of someone spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A recent study by Public Health England suggests a single vaccine dose might cut the likelihood of transmission by nearly half.