The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended the use of BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 and over, the EU regulator announced on Thursday.

“EMA’s human medicines committee has recommended granting an extension of indication for the COVID-19 vaccine Comirnaty to include use in children aged 5 to 11,” the EU body announced in a press statement.

Based on the agency’s approval, the European Commission will update the marketing authorization of the jab, lowering the advised age limit from the current 12 to 5 years.

The recommended dose for children under 12 will be one-third of the normal amount of a BioNTech jab.

BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines were the first COVID-19 jabs authorized by the bloc in December 2020.

Under an advance purchased agreement, the EU financially contributed to the development of the vaccine by scientists Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, a Turkish-German immigrant couple.

In order to provide booster jabs, the European Commission agreed in May with Pfizer/BioNTech to purchase another 1.8 billion doses for the years 2022 and 2023, in addition to the 600 million doses received this year.

The jab uses an innovative technique mRNA based on a messenger molecule with instructions to produce a protein from the virus that causes COVID-19 to prepare the body to fight the disease.

​​​​​​​Unlike traditional vaccines, BioNTech/Pfizer does not contain the virus itself.