S. Africa regulator approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 and older

Vials labeled “COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine” and Sryinge can be seen in front of the Pfizer logo displayed in this illustration taken on February 9, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

JOHANNESBURG, Sept.11 (Reuters) – The South African health regulator has approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine (PFE.N) for use by children aged 12 and older, paving the way for the government to offer vaccines to adolescents.

The South African Health Products Authority (SAPHRA) said the decision came after a review of updated safety and efficacy information submitted in March this year.

After a chaotic start, South Africa‘s vaccination campaign has intensified in recent months with a solid stock of vaccines secured and just over 12% of its more than 60 million people vaccinated. This places the country well ahead of others on the continent.

However, health insurers say vaccine reluctance is now the main issue affecting the pace of the campaign and the government has launched efforts to persuade people to get the vaccine.

South Africa has a large population of young people, 28% of whom are under the age of 15.

Countries around the world are now considering or administering vaccines to children, while other vaccine developers, including Moderna (MRNA.O) are calling for the green light to use their vaccines on adolescents.

Pfizer, whose vaccine is already given to adolescents, is planning tests on even younger children.

Reporting by Emma Rumney Editing by Ros Russell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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