Pfizer on Tuesday said it will begin testing its COVID-19 vaccine in a larger group of children under the age of 12 - but at a lower dose.
The study will involve up to 4,500 kids in the U.S., Finland, Poland and Spain.
Based on safety, tolerability and the immune response generated by 144 children in a phase 1 study of the two-dose vaccine, Pfizer said it will now test a lower dose on the younger kids.
That is: 10 micrograms for 5-11 year-olds, and 3 micrograms for the age group of 6 months to five years of age.
Currently, those over 12-years-old in the U.S, Canada, and Europe are receiving the same dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as adults - 30 micrograms.
Top U.S. infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said decreasing doses in trials on younger kids makes sense:
“The idea of when you are going from an adult trial with adult doses - we do standard, this isn’t anything unusual, it’s called an age de-escalation and a dose de-escalation study. (flash) And when you get down to the younger children it is not at all unusual to diminish the dose.”
According to the CDC, nearly 7 million teens have received at least one dose of the vaccine in the United States. And health experts say inoculating children is a critical step in taming the COVID-19 pandemic.