Children ages 5 to 11 may be eligible to receive Pfizer’s FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccine by the end of October, top U.S. health officials say.
“Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our Covid-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations,” said FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, back in May. “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from Covid-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic.”
Former commissioner of the FDA and a Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb, told CBS’s Ed O’Keefe that the FDA usually takes four to six weeks to review authorizations.
“This fall, Pfizer is going to be in a position, the company I’m on the board of, as you mentioned, be in a position to file data with the FDA at some point in September and then file the application potentially as early as October,” said Gottlieb. “So that’ll put us on a time frame where the vaccine could be available at some point late fall, more likely early winter, depending on how long the FDA takes to review the application.”
Gottlieb also said that the authorization could take longer, depending on whether the FDA requests additional information.
“It could take longer to get to an authorization, but the agency will be in a position to make an authorization, I believe, at some point late fall, probably early winter, and probably they’re going to base their decision on what the circumstances around the country, what the urgency is, to get to a vaccine for kids,” Gottlieb told O’Keefe.
Although this will appease some parents who want to vaccinate their children, there is also a large number of Americans who are questioning the push to vaccinate anyone – let alone young children. With school back in session and the uptick of coronavirus infections caused by the Delta variant, parents may begin to feel pressured into vaccinating their younger kids.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), young children are not as affected by Covid-19 as adults are, and usually only suffer mild symptoms, if any symptoms at all.
WHO Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove explained the effects of Covid-19 on children, stating that they may feel some of the normal symptoms, but “they tend to be more mild.”
“And even most children tend to have asymptomatic infection, which means they don’t have any symptoms at all,” she said.
Dr. Kerkhove pointed out that the best way for children to remain safe is by utilizing normal virus prevention methods, like hand washing, to prevent them from catching the virus to begin with.
“Make sure children have clean hands and they wash their hands appropriately with soap and water and sing the songs so that they get enough bubbles and they make sure that those hands are really clean. Or use an alcohol-based rub. Make sure that they practice respiratory etiquette, where they sneeze into their elbow,” Kerkhove suggested, in addition to clean mask practices.
Currently, children ages 12 and over are eligible to receive Pfizer’s vaccine. The other most common vaccine in the U.S., made by Moderna, is currently approved for adults 18 and older. Moderna is currently seeking approval from the FDA for it’s EUA in children older than 12.