Children as young as 12 in the United States could start receiving COVID-19 vaccines as early as Thursday.
That's after U.S. regulators on Monday authorised Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine for use in people aged 12 to 15.
The vaccine is already cleared in the U.S. for those 16 and older.
Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock:
"Vaccinating a younger population brings us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Now parents and guardians can rest assured that in making our decision the agency undertook a rigorous and through review of of all averrable scientific data as we have with all the COVID-19 vaccinations."
U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement hailing the authorization as "...a promising development in our fight against the virus."
He's asked states to make the vaccine available to young people immediately.
Most children with COVID-19 only develop mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.
However, children are not without risk of becoming seriously ill, and they can still spread the virus.
Vaccines are seen as crucial to ending the pandemic, but the pace of U.S. inoculations has slowed significantly in recent weeks.
There are concerns that vaccine hesitancy in some adults will be even more pronounced when it comes to their children...
Pfizer expects to have safety data on the vaccine for children aged 2 to 11 in September,
when it plans to ask for that age group to be included in the emergency authorisation.
So far, around 46% of people in the U.S. have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.