Pending CDC approval, the FDA has authorized the use of Pfizer’s BioNTech vaccine for distribution among twelve to fifteen year-olds. The vaccine had previously been approved for use in children sixteen and older.
The approval should come soon – possibly as soon as Wednesday – and after CDC go-ahead, immunization can begin as early as Thursday, as millions of children can now to return to school for the new year fully-immunized without fear of possibly transmitting the coronavirus.
“This is a watershed moment in our ability to fight back the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Bill Gruber, who is both a senior vice president of Pfizer, and a pediatrician.
“This is great news,” said Dr. Kristin Oliver, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “It’s as if we’ve been waiting forever to start protecting children in this age group.
Pfizer isn’t the only company reported attempting to get their vaccine used in lower age groups. Moderna has previously indicated that results from a pre-lim study of twelve to seventeen year-olds have demonstrated promising results without any serious side effects. And it is reported that Novavax has developed a vaccine and have begun their own clinical study on the effects of the vaccine on twelve to seventeen year-olds.
Children younger than twelve would be the next target for a vaccine approval. Moderna and Pfizer have been studying the effects of the vaccine in children from the ages between six months to eleven, and to determine the amount of dosing needed. Results are not expected until the coming weeks, probably some time this fall.
Sources: The Week, The NY Times.