As the world is grappling with the second wave of covid-19, many countries including India and Brazil are witnessing a catastrophe. Not only are lakhs of people contracting the virus but the number of deaths is also rising exponentially.
On Tuesday India recorded over 3.57 lakh new covid-19 cases during the last 24 hours taking the total infections in the country to over 2.02 crore. Out of this, over 34 lakh cases are currently active while over 1.66 crore people have recovered after testing positive. With 3,449 deaths, the toll is now over 2.22 lakh.
In such a horrifying situation some hope has emerged for the young adults who were not considered for vaccination as yet as the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorise Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for young adults age 12 and older by next week.
The announcement is set to come barely a month after the company found that its shot, which is already authorised for those age 16 and older, also provided protection for the younger group.
The FDA action will be followed by a meeting of a federal vaccine advisory committee to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12 to 15-year-olds. Shots could begin after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopts the committee’s recommendation. Those steps could be completed in a matter of days.
Interestingly, Pfizer in late March released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 US volunteers ages 12 to 15, showing there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 18 among those given dummy shots.
The main side effects are pain, fever, chills and fatigue, particularly after the second dose. The study will continue to track participants for two years for more information about long-term protection and safety.
Pfizer isn’t the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. Results also are expected by the middle of this year from a US study of Moderna’s vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds.
But in a sign that the findings were promising, the FDA already allowed both companies to begin U.S. studies in children 11 and younger, working their way to as young as 6 months old.
The FDA approval will also set in motion the process for other countries who can start trials and later identify the younger population to be vaccinated at an earliest.
The approval will also mean that the fight against the covid-19 can be organized in a much better way as the younger generation seems to be the most vulnerable now as other age groups have been notified eligible for the vaccination.