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Biden encourages children and adolescents to be vaccinated

The US authorities have approved the first corona vaccine for children and adolescents aged twelve and over. US President Biden speaks of another big step in the fight against the pandemic - and calls for vaccinations.

Washington (AP) - After the corona vaccine from Pfizer / Biontech was approved in the USA for children and adolescents from the age of twelve, US President Joe Biden called for this age group to be vaccinated.

"I encourage parents to make sure they get the vaccination," Biden said in the White House. This age group could also become infected with the corona virus and infect friends, siblings, parents and grandparents. Biden promised that vaccination options would be made available quickly for those 12 to 15 year olds. As early as this Thursday, they could be vaccinated in 15,000 pharmacies throughout the year.

"This is another big step in our fight against the pandemic," said Biden. Up until now, adolescents in the United States could only be vaccinated from the age of 16. At the same time, the US President announced that the 250 million corona vaccine dose mark would be exceeded since he took office on January 20. According to the US health authority CDC on Wednesday, more than 117 million of the approximately 330 million people in the USA are now fully vaccinated.

A CDC panel of experts had spoken out in favor of the Pfizer / Biontech corona vaccine for children and adolescents aged 12 to 15 years. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had previously approved the vaccine for this age group. The already existing emergency approval for administration from 16 years of age has been adapted and expanded accordingly.

Before the United States, Canada and other countries had already approved the vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds. A corresponding application has also been submitted to the European approval authority EMA; the test could take up to next month. In the EU, Pfizer / Biontech's agent has so far only been allowed to be injected into people aged 16 and over.

The companies announced a few weeks ago that a clinical study in the age group 12 to 15 years in the US had shown 100 percent effectiveness. The vaccination was also well tolerated. The side effects would have corresponded to those in the age group from 16 to 25 years.

According to the FDA, around 1.5 million corona infections have been reported to US authorities in the past few months in people between the ages of 11 and 17. Vaccination of minors is considered very important in approaching the so-called herd immunity, which is intended to bring the pandemic under control.