The European Union roll-out of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for five to 11-year-olds will begin on 13 December, a week earlier than previously planned, Germany's health ministry has said.

Germany is due to receive 2.4 million doses for use as a two-dose regimen, the ministry said, adding it has commitment on the new date from the manufacturer.

"Given the current pandemic situation, this is good news for parents and children. Many are awaiting this eagerly," acting health minister Jens Spahn said in the statement.

A BioNTech spokesperson confirmed the earlier launch, adding it was contingent on the production batch passing quality control checks early next week.

The roll-out will be brought forward without an impact on agreed delivery volumes thanks to "a massive effort including weekend work" on the part of Pfizer and BioNTech staff, the company added.


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Last week, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended that Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine, approved for European Union use in teenagers between 12 and 17 since May, be given as an injection in the upper arm in two 10 microgram doses, three weeks apart.

Adult doses contain 30 micrograms.

Pfizer and BioNTech have said their vaccine, which is called Comirnaty, showed 90.7% efficacy against the coronavirus in a clinical trial of children aged five to 11.

"The benefits of Comirnaty in children aged 5 to 11 outweigh the risks, particularly in those with conditions that increase the risk of severe Covid-19," the EMA said.