FDA Authorizes Emergency Use for Adolescents – Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use

On May 10, another milestone occurred in the quest to prevent coronavirus disease commonly known as COVID-19. FDA gave the go ahead for expanded emergency use authorization (EUA) to Pfizer-BioNTech for the adolescent age group from ages 12 though 15.

According to FDA, approximately 1.5million cases of COVID-19 have occurred in that age group from March 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021.

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”

Further, on May 10, FDA recently updated the Fact Sheets for Vaccine Providers, Recipients and Caregivers- direct links:

Healthcare Providers: https://www.fda.gov/media/144413/download

Recipients and Caregivers: https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download

FDA COVID-19 Treatment Approval

First FDA Approval for COVID-19: Veklury (remdesivir), an antiviral drug, manufactured by Gilead. It is for use in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization. 

The FDA granted Gilead’s application Fast Track and Priority Review designations. Further FDA granted this application a  Material Threat Medical Countermeasure Priority Review Voucher. This means additional incentives because COVID-19 falls within this category; that is, medical products intended to treat or prevent harm from specific chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. It is important to mention that this approval does not include the entire population that had been authorized to use Veklury under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) (issued on May 1, 2020). 

NOTE—FDA had granted Gilead Sciences Orphan Drug status for remdesivir and orphan designation for the “Treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)” (March 23, 2020) which means tax advantages and exclusivity; however, in an unusual twist,  Gilead requested on March 25, 2020 that FDA rescind orphan drug designation.

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-treatment-covid-19

https://www.gilead.com/news-and-press/press-room/press-releases/2020/10/us-food-and-drug-administration-approves-gileads-antiviral-veklury-remdesivir-for-treatment-of-covid19