Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
This file illustration photo taken on November 17, 2020 shows vials with COVID-19 vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Image Credit: AFP

Pfizer Inc. said its COVID-19 vaccine was 100% effective in a final-stage trial in kids ages 12 to 15, a finding that could pave the way for shots for teens and pre-teens before the next school year.

The vaccine is already authorised in the US for people ages 16 and up. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech SE said they planned to submit the data to regulators in the US and Europe as soon as possible, seeking to amend their vaccine authorisations to include the younger age group.

In the study of 2,260 adolescents, the vaccine produced antibodies against the COVID-19 that exceeded the level seen in vaccinated young adults, Pfizer and BioNTech said in a statement. All 18 cases of Covid-19 in the study were in teens who received a placebo, the companies said. Side effects were consistent with those experienced by people ages 16 to 25.

"We share the urgency to expand the authorisation of our vaccine to use in younger populations and are encouraged by the clinical trial data from adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15," Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in the statement.

The companies said they planned to submit more detailed results from the study to a scientific journal for publication.

In people 16 and older, Pfizer's and BioNTech's messenger RNA vaccine was 95% effective at preventing symptomatic cases in a final-stage trial, leading to its emergency authorization late last year. The other messenger RNA vaccine on the market, from Moderna Inc., is currently authorised for people 18 and up and was 94% effective in its final-stage trial. Both vaccines require people to get two shots.

Earlier this month, both Pfizer and Moderna began trials of their vaccines in kids under 12. Moderna is also studying its vaccine in adolescents.