A Pfizer e a BioNTech asked US regulatory authorities for approval for emergency use of the covid-19 vaccine that developed together in kids between the ages of 5 and 11, Pfizer reported in a tweet on Thursday.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory agency has scheduled a meeting of its committee of external advisors for October 26 to discuss the request, which means that children can receive vaccines quickly after an approval.
A rapid authorization of the vaccine in young children could help mitigate a potential increase in cases in the country, at a time when schools are already reopening nationally.
The vaccine could be ready for distribution in November, pending approval from federal regulatory agencies, White House Covid-19 Response Chief Jeffery Zients said Thursday.
“We are ready. We have the supply. We are working with states to prepare convenient places for parents and children to be vaccinated, including pediatric offices and community facilities,” Zients told CNN.
Asked whether he believed vaccination could begin before Thanksgiving, the US holiday at the end of November, Zients replied: “It depends on the scientific processes of the FDA and the CDC (US Center for Disease Control and Prevention), but yes, it could”.
Children now account for about 27% of all coronavirus cases in the US and an increasing percentage of hospitalizations, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. This is a result of the high transmissibility of the Delta variant of coronavirus among people who have not been vaccinated.
Although children are less susceptible to severe Covid-19, they can spread the virus to others, including members of vulnerable populations who are more likely to develop severe cases.
The vaccine is already authorized to be applied to adolescents between 12 and 15 years of age and is fully approved for those over 16 years of age.
The two pharmacists are also testing the vaccine in children aged between 2 and 5 years and in babies between 6 months and 2 years of age. Data from these studies are expected in the fourth quarter.
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