HOUSTON — Why could it be a few weeks for a COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 be approved?
Pfizer has officially asked the U.S. government to approve use of its COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. But it will take a while before shots can go into the arms of the 28 million children eligible in the U.S.
The FDA advisory committee is expected to meet on October 26 to go over the data and make their recommendation. According to the Washington Post, authorization could come sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
So what is the data? Pfizer and BioNTech report that younger kids should get a dose that is one third of what is given to adults. But after the second dose, the companies report the children had the same level of virus fighting antibodies as the adults.
After testing it on over 2,000 young volunteers there were no serious side effects reported.
This comes at a key time in the coronavirus pandemic. As the delta variant surged in the U.S., cases in young children increased to levels we haven’t seen before. While they are at lower risk of severe illness and death compared to adults, widespread vaccinations of children could lead to eased restrictions in schools and a return to normal for some families.