The US Food and Drug Administration plans to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 on Friday, according to The New York Times. The expected move comes after panel of independent advisers to the FDA voted Tuesday to recommend the vaccine for younger kids.
Pfizer’s vaccine for younger kids is one-third the dose given to people age 12 and up, and it comes in a two-dose series given three weeks apart. When authorized, it could affect more than 28 million children, according to the Times.
Before shots can be given to younger kids, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will also need to give its recommendation on the vaccine. An independent committee to CDC is meeting next week and is expected to issue guidance on how shots roll out.
The White House has already shared a plan to get kids under 12 vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying it “will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was fully approved by the FDA for people 16 and older in August, but is still under emergency use authorization for kids 12 to 15. Pfizer remains the only vaccine authorized for use in kids as young as 12 in the US.
With many kids back in classrooms, the US has seen a wave of COVID-19 cases in children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. In the past week almost 118,000 child COVID cases were added. Children remain at low risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death compared with the adult population, but they can experience complications from COVID-19, including long COVID.
The FDA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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