U.S. Approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Booster for 12-15 Year Old Teens


This article was originally published on TipRanks.com

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorization (EUA) to global pharma giant Pfizer Inc. (PFE) and biotechnology company BioNTech SE (BNTX) for their COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for children between ages 12 and 15 years. The dosage will be similar to the 30-µg approved for the primary vaccine shots.

However, shares of Pfizer closed down 4.1% at $56.65 and BNTX closed down 10.1% at $231.85 on January 3, following an overall fall in the sector.

Booster Shots Expanded

The resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic with the Omicron variant has left countries fumbling for ways to stop the spread. The U.S. is witnessing around 400,000 cases daily. The FDA has approved the EUA of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster to include kids aged 12 years and above, to curb the rapid spread of the virus.

Additionally, the FDA has also shortened the gap between the primary shots and the booster to five months from the earlier gap of six months. This decision is based on data from the real-world study conducted by the Ministry of Health of Israel, which had administered over 4.1 million booster doses after five months of obtaining the primary shots and revealed no new safety concerns in adults.

Moreover, the FDA also issued the EUA for the third dose of the primary vaccine shot for immunocompromised children between ages 5 and 11 years. The third dose will be administered at least 28 days after the second dose .

Until December 29, 2021, Pfizer and BioNTech have supplied 1 billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to low and middle-income countries, and are expected to supply another 1 billion doses to these countries in 2022.

Comments

Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said, “We continue to believe that broad use of boosters is essential to preserving a high level of protection against this disease and reducing the rate of hospitalizations.”

Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, said, “The booster vaccination increases the level of immunity and improves protection against COVID-19 across all age groups that have been authorized to receive one… In the current situation, it is important to offer all eligible individuals a booster, particularly against the backdrop of the newly-emerging variants such as Omicron.”

Analysts’ View

Yesterday, Bernstein analyst Aaron Gal lifted the price target on the Pfizer stock to $65 (14.7% upside potential) from $44 while maintaining a Hold rating.

Overall, the stock has a Moderate Buy consensus rating based on 7 Buys and 11 Holds. The average Pfizer price target of $57.35 implies 1.2% upside potential to current levels. Shares have gained 53.9% over the past year.

Hedge Fund Activity

According to TipRanks’ Hedge Fund Trading Activity tool, some of the Top Hedge Funds currently have a Very Positive stance on PFE, as 23 hedge funds have increased their cumulative holdings of the Pfizer stock by 4.4 million shares in the last quarter.

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