The Pfizer Covid-19 jab is “100% effective and well tolerated” among children aged 12 to 15, a new study suggests.

Pfizer said it now plans to seek approval for use of the vaccine in this age group from regulators around the world and hopes youngsters will start to receive the jab before the next school year.

The pharmaceutical company said it plans to submit the data to the UK regulator – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency – within the next couple of months.

Researchers examined the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in a trial of 2,260 teenagers in the US.

Half were given the jab and the other half were given a placebo drug.

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There were no Covid-19 cases seen in the group who received the vaccine and 18 infections among those who did not.

Albert Bourla, chief executive of Pfizer, said: “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.

“We plan to submit these data to FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration) as a proposed amendment to our emergency use authorisation in the coming weeks and to other regulators around the world, with the hope of starting to vaccinate this age group before the start of the next school year.”

Pfizer said the jab “demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses exceeding those reported in trial of vaccinated 16-25-year-old participants in an earlier analysis”.

Participants in the Phase 3 trial, conducted in the US, showed “strong immunogenicity” a month after the second dose of the jab.

All participants in the trial will be monitored for two years after their second dose.

Dr Peter English, retired consultant in communicable disease control, added: “When the full, peer-reviewed papers appear it will open up the way to extending vaccination to this age group. It will be important to do this to achieve herd immunity.”

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Meanwhile, the companies also announced they have dosed the first children in a trial assessing the safety and effectiveness of the jab in youngsters aged six months to 11 years.

The news comes after figures showed a slight rise in cases among youngsters after schools reopened.

In its latest weekly surveillance report, published last week, Public Health England said the rate for 10 to 19-year-olds stood at 100.7 cases per 100,000 in the seven days to March 21.

This was the highest rate across all age groups and was up week-on-week from 79.7.

Oxford University is carrying out a clinical trial on children aged six to 17 to test the safety and efficacy of its vaccine in younger age groups, with initial results expected in the summer.

But Professor Adam Finn, of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said on Wednesday that no final decisions has been made about vaccinating youngsters.