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Pfizer said that its COVID vaccine is 73.2% effective in the age group of 6 months to 4 years. The company had rolled out the shots for children under 5 years of age in June. The new data showed that the vaccine generated a similar immune response as was seen in older age groups.

The company said that an early analysis based on 10 symptomatic COVID-19 cases suggested that the efficacy is 80.3% in this group, but experts pointed out that the data was preliminary due to the low number of symptomatic cases.

The updated data released on Tuesday showed 13 children had COVID-19, at least seven days after receiving a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, compared with 21 cases in those who received a placebo.

Most cases were caused by the Omicron BA.2 variant that was dominant in March and April, when the study was conducted.

The companies also said they were preparing an application seeking U.S. authorization for an Omicron-targeting vaccine booster in children aged 6 months through 11 years of age.

Pfizer seeks OK of updated COVID vaccine booster for fall

Meanwhile, the company has asked US regulators to authorise its combination COVID-19 vaccine that adds protection against the newest omicron relatives — a key step toward opening a fall booster campaign.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday ordered vaccine makers to tweak their shots to target BA.4 and BA.5 that are better than ever at dodging immunity from earlier vaccination or infection.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech aim to offer updated boosters to people 12 and older, and shots could begin within weeks if the FDA quickly clears the modified vaccine — a step not expected to require waiting on new studies.

Moderna is expected to file a similar application soon for updated boosters for adults. The US has a contract to buy 105 million of the Pfizer doses and 66 million Moderna ones, assuming FDA gives the green light.

(With inputs from agencies)

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