COVID-19 Vaccine for 5 to 11 year olds
President Biden has rolled out his plan to vaccinate children ages five to 11. During the CNN Town Hall last Thursday night, Biden said that his administration has already secured enough COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate 28 million children, all of the US children between five and 11. According to the CDC’s “Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Operational Planning Guide” jurisdictions were given the option to pre-order the pediatric vaccine on October 20th, 22nd, and 24th.
The only problem is that the vaccine has not yet been approved.
In late September, Pfizer submitted data about the efficacy of giving one third of the adult dose of its COVID-19 vaccine to children five to 11, and on October 7th the company asked the FDA to amend its emergency use authorization to approve its COVID-19 vaccine in that age group. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) of the FDA will meet Tuesday, October 26th to evaluate the clinical trial data of Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine for COVID-19 and to review the FDA’s own assessment.
On October 22nd, the FDA publicized data from Pfizer that shows its COVID-19 pediatric vaccine to be 90.7% effective among five to 11 year olds in preventing COVID-19 symptoms. Federal regulators say that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
If VRBPAC votes to approve the request for emergency use authorization, the FDA will comply and authorize. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will likely discuss the pediatric vaccine in its November 2nd and 3rd meeting. If ACIP recommends the use of the vaccine, the CDC will also approve it and vaccines will begin to be shipped out to pediatric and primary care offices, community health centers, rural health clinics and pharmacies all over the United States. The children’s vaccine rollout could begin as early as November 3rd.
Parents are not so sure
While it is important for the Biden administration to be prepared for the possibility of a pediatric vaccine, to make its approval a foregone conclusion does not inspire the confidence of parents because it makes it seem as if politics is more important than science.