EU approves use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children 12 and over in Europe
The European Commission authorised the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds on Friday, following the European Medicines Agency's approval of administering the jabs to adolescents earlier in the day.
This vaccine is already approved for people aged 16 and over in the EU.
Earlier this month, US regulators authorised the vaccine for children in the 12-to-15 age group, and it is now widely available.
The European Medicines Agency said that two doses of the vaccine would be needed in adolescents and should be given at least three weeks apart, which is the same guidance as for adult use.
Individual EU states would be able to decide whether or not they wanted to offer the vaccine to the 12 to 15-year-olds.
Germany said on Thursday that it would start giving the vaccine to children from 12 to 15 from June 7th, which is when vaccine prioritisation for all adults is set to end in Germany.
Italy has also said it would extend its vaccination campaign to the over-12s, with approval from Italy's regulator expected by Monday.
And Austrian capital Vienna was waiting for the EMA approval before opening up Covid-19 vaccination registrations to parents of 12- to 15-year-olds.
In Switzerland, meanwhile, children may be able to get vaccinated at the age of 10, even without their parents' approval.
The EMA approval may help reassure parents when children go back to face-to-face teaching, but the issue is not without controversy.
A few figures in the medical community have said there is not yet enough evidence to support vaccines and their potential side effects in younger people, while others believe older and vulnerable people in less wealthy countries should be prioritised over children.