Pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer said Monday that their jointly produced coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective for children from the ages of 5 to 11.
What did the companies say?
"In participants five to 11 years of age, the vaccine was safe, well tolerated and showed robust neutralizing antibody responses," Germany-based BioNTech and US pharma giant Pfizer said in a joint statement.
The two firms are going to hand over trial data to regulatory bodies in the EU, US and other parts of the world "as soon as possible."
The children in the vaccine trial received two doses of 10 micrograms, spaced 21 days apart. Older age groups typically receive two shots of 30 micrograms.
The statement comes as coronavirus cases among children surge in the United States and in other parts of the world.
"We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said, while adding that "since July, paediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen about 240 percent in the US."
The vaccine could greatly facilitate the safe return of school children to in-person classes in the US, UK and in other countries. Many Western nations have been reluctant to give jabs to children due to the lack of available data on safety and efficacy.
Israel has already greenlit vaccinations for children aged 5-11 who are at risk of serious illness from the virus. Cuba has vaccinated children as young as two-years-old to reopen schools.