South Korea approves Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years with an increase in COVID-19 cases

South Korea has approved the use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years. The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday following an increase in national COVID-19 infections.

The ministry said children with underlying health problems will prioritize Pfizer vaccination, and plans to deploy the vaccine will be announced at local retailers in March. Yonhap News Agency reported.

Health officials evaluated the safety of Pfizer’s vaccine in 3,109 children aged 5 to 11 years and found that side effects were more common after the first dose. They said the side effects were mild and would usually subside within 3 days.

According to the ministry, the vaccine is 90.7 percent effective in preventing children from becoming infected with the virus, and no serious side effects have been reported so far.

Children aged 5 to 11 receive one-third of what a 12-year-old child gets and give two jabs at 3-week intervals, while children with significantly weakened immunity receive a booster after 4 weeks. You can get it.

This move is due to a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 infections in infants in recent weeks as schools prepare for the new semester from March.

South Korea reported 171,452 new cases on Tuesday. This is a sharp increase from 99,573 cases the day before. However, Prime Minister Kim Bu-gyeom said hospitalizations and deaths were still at manageable levels and urged citizens not to panic.

Kim said the rules for social distance will be relaxed after the current wave peaks. Some experts estimate that it may come in mid-March.

“Omicron’s spread is still at its peak, but once we are assured of stable management of serious cases and deaths, we will reform the broad framework of antivirus quarantine policies, including social distance,” he said. I told the group.

More than 86% of South Korea’s 52 million inhabitants have been vaccinated and nearly 60% have completed booster shots.

Meanwhile, Japan has recently approved a Pfizer vaccine for children of this age group, and distribution of the vaccine to local governments and medical facilities is scheduled to begin this week.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had previously planned to make a decision on Pfizer’s vaccine for children under the age of five, but the meeting was postponed due to the need for additional data.

“We believe that additional information on the continued assessment of the third dose should be considered as part of the decision for potential approval,” the authorities said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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