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Children from 5 to 11 to be vaccinated once FDA gives approval for Pfizer in USA: Health Minister

On 20th September Pfizer-BioNTech said a vaccine trial on children from the age of 5 to 11 showed a strong immune response and was found to be safe and very effective.

The trail by Pfizer was on 2,268 children from ages 5 to 11.

The difference is that the children in this age category only needed one-third of the dose given to adults and those 12 and above, to elicit the same immune response.

Pfizer has not yet released the details of its tests nor has the study been peer-reviewed yet but it will soon submit its findings to the Food and Drug Regulatory (FDA) Authority of USA by the end of September.

It is expected that FDA may take up to a month for its review and the hope is that an approval will come in by the end of October or early November.

The Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo said that once the US FDA gives approval for using Pfizer in the ages of 5 to 11 then Bhutan stands ready to vaccinate these children.

She said Bhutan has around 60,000 children from ages 5 to 11 and there will be adequate vaccines to give them two doses or a full vaccination which is a total of 120,000 doses.

Bhutan purchased 198,900 doses of Pfizer which came in on 7th September.

Lyonpo said that vaccination in this age group will primarily be done institutionally as they are mainly in schools and some in ECCDs and then after that those not in these institutions will be reached out to for the vaccination.

Earlier, out of the 79,000 children in the age group of 12 to 17 the MoH had vaccinated 59,000 children mainly with the Moderna first dose in 13 districts while 20,000 children in the remaining 7 districts remained.

The Pfizer vaccine has been rolled out in the remaining 7 districts to cover the first dose of this 20,000 youths. So far 96% of this age group have been covered with the first dose.

All 79,000 kids are expected to get their second dose by early November by which time Bhutan will reach 79.7% full vaccine dose coverage or close to 80 percent.

Once the 5-to 11 are vaccinated this will jump to around 86 percent.

The Health Minister said that once the 12-17 all get their second dose then more relaxations should be expected in a phased manner.

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