By the end of next week, millions of kids in the U.S. could be eligible to roll up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisers are scheduled to meet Tuesday to make their recommendation to the FDA, which has already said the benefits outweigh the risks.
Last week, federal health regulators said that kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appear highly effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and caused no unexpected safety issues. The FDA posted its analysis of Pfizer’s data ahead of the meeting this week.
In their analysis, FDA scientists concluded that in almost every scenario the vaccine’s benefit for preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 would outweigh any serious potential side effects in children. But agency reviewers stopped short of calling for Pfizer’s shot to be authorized.
Its two doses, given three weeks apart, are each a third of a normal dose and Pfizer says it’s about 90% effective against symptomatic infection.
If and when the FDA formally makes the emergency use authorization, a Pfizer board member said they are ready to get shipping and it would be available for use as soon as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes its recommendation.
The CDC could make its recommendation as early as Nov. 4 and 5.