The youngest Americans could soon line up for COVID-19 shots.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, have announced three doses of their COVID vaccine which they claim offers stronger protection for children under five years old.
The companies previously found a two-dose series was not strong enough for this age group.
In a news release, the companies said the extra shot did the trick, revving up tots’ levels of virus-fighting antibodies enough to meet FDA criteria for emergency use of the vaccine with no safety problems.
Preliminary data suggested the three-dose series is 80-percent effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19. However, the companies cautioned the calculation is based on just 10 cases diagnosed among study participants by the end of April. The study rules state that at least 21 cases are needed to formally determine effectiveness, and Pfizer promised an update as soon as more data is available.
The news comes after months of anxious waiting by parents desperate to vaccinate their babies, toddlers and preschoolers, especially as COVID-19 cases once again are rising. The 18 million tots under 5 are the only group in the U.S. not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
Pfizer plans to give the data to U.S. regulators later this week.