MINNEAPOLIS — Nearly 30 million kids could soon be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer.
On Friday, Pfizer said its two-dose pediatric shot is more than 90% effective against symptomatic COVID infections.
If approved, the vaccine doses would be administered to 5-to 11-year-old children at three weeks intervals.
Only the Pfizer vaccines are being considered at this time, and the doses would be one third of a dose given to adults. Young children given the low-dose shots developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teens and young adults who got regular-strength vaccinations, according to Pfizer's study.
Following authorization from the FDA, the recommendations will be passed on to the CDC, where a panel of advisors will meet early next week to formally sign off on the pediatric doses. However, doses of the Pfizer vaccine can begin shipping to providers across the country, along with smaller needles necessary for younger kids, soon after the FDA's ruling.
About 15 million doses will be shipped to providers across the country in the first week after approval, the White House said last week.
“We’re completing the operational planning to ensure vaccinations for kids ages 5-11 are available, easy and convenient,” said White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients. “We’re going to be ready, pending the FDA and CDC decision.”
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, COVID cases among children represent about a quarter of all weekly cases reported in the U.S.
Health experts say getting kids vaccinated will play a major role in ending the pandemic.
Moderna vaccines have not yet been approved for use in older kids aged 12-16, but the drugmaker is studying the use of lower vaccine doses in young kids. The company plans to submit its pediatric data to the FDA and global regulators soon.