Cyprus will use the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on 12 to 15-year-olds when and if approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), said deputy director of Pharmaceutical Services Elena Panayiotopoulou.
The Health Ministry official told the Cyprus News Agency the vaccine is expected to receive EMA approval in June for younger age groups.
The EMA announced it has begun evaluating an application to extend the use of this vaccine to include young people aged 12 to 15 years.
Panayiotopoulou said the EMA would conduct a rapid review of the data, including the results of a clinical study involving 12-year-olds, to decide whether to recommend the extension.
She said around 2,500 young people, aged 12 to 15, participated in the study.
In March, Pfizer said initial results from trials of its vaccine in this age group showed 100% efficacy and strong immune response.
Once approved, Cyprus is expected to use it on younger people.
“The European Medicines Agency does not force each country to comply with its own approvals.”
Canada is authorizing Pfizer’s use in children aged 12 to 15, the first doses to be allowed in the country for people that young.
Supriya Sharma, a senior adviser at the Canadian federal health ministry, said the Pfizer vaccine, produced with German partner BioNTech was safe and effective in the younger age group.
Canada is among the first countries to grant such approval; Algeria permitted using the vaccine for this age group in April.
The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to take a similar step “very soon”.
Children’s risk of becoming very ill or dying with Covid-19 is tiny, and throughout the pandemic, they have very rarely needed hospital treatment.
Pfizer is one of several vaccine manufacturers testing jabs on children.
The aim of vaccinating them – particularly older children – would be to keep schools open, reduce the spread of coronavirus in the community and protect vulnerable children with conditions that put them at increased risk.