Provisional approval for Pfizer vaccine for young people aged 12 to 15

Medsafe has given provisional approval of the Pfizer vaccine for young people aged 12 to 15 years.

The next step is for Cabinet to review advice from the Ministry of Health about the ‘decision to use’. Cabinet are expected to consider this issue soon. Until then, young people aged 12 to 15 cannot be given the vaccine.

Medsafe is New Zealand’s medicines safety authority. It evaluates applications for all new medicines, including vaccines, to make sure they meet international standards and local requirements.

Its process for approving the use of the Pfizer vaccine for young people aged 12 to 15 has been carefully considered and robust, with safety as the key priority.

There are around 265,000 people in this age bracket. We have ordered more than enough Pfizer vaccines for everyone who is already eligible, along with this new group, to get the 2 doses they need to be protected. No one will miss out on a vaccine.

If Cabinet approve a ‘decision to use’ Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, the Ministry of Health will provide advice about how young people will be able to access their vaccinations as part of the rollout.

It will not be mandatory for young people to get vaccinated.

A number of countries including Canada, the United States and Europe have already approved vaccination for 12 to 15-year-olds, and some have begun to vaccinate this cohort.