Pfizer and BioNTech have officially filed for emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccination for kids 5 to 11 years old with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The pharmaceutical companies submitted their clinical trial data after reporting that it was effective and safe at producing antibody responses. If all goes as expected, we could have an approved vaccine for kids in as little as five weeks, and it sounds like the rollout is going to be swift. Here’s what parents need to know.
“We and @BioNTech_Group officially submitted our request to @US_FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of our #COVID19 vaccine in children 5 to <12,” Pfizer tweeted on October 7, 2021. “With new cases in children in the U.S. continuing to be at a high level, this submission is an important step in our ongoing effort against Covid-19. We’re committed to working with the FDA with the ultimate goal of helping protect children against this serious public health threat.”
— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) October 7, 2021
As previously reported, Pfizer estimated vaccine for kids clinical trial data could be ready to submit in October. And it seems like the process is running right on schedule. Experts and scientists have long said getting vaccinated is our best bet to end the pandemic and get some normalcy back. While vaccinations have been an option for adults and older kids for a while, we know that once a vaccine is approved for kids under 12, the light at the end of the tunnel will be that much easier to see, especially for parents.
The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is tentatively scheduled to meet later this month to review the clinical trial data. If all goes well, approval and authorization could come by the end of October or early November.
If Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids is approved, how fast will rollout happen?
While we will still have to wait a few weeks to hear the results of the FDA’s review of the data, experts say once emergency authorization is approved; things will go quickly.
The Pfizer vaccine for kids is the same COVID-19 mRNA technology as the adult vaccine. However, it’s a smaller dose (10mg for kids vs. 30mg for teens and adults). This means supply needs to be delivered to vaccine providers across the country. But according to Pfizer representatives, the supply will be “sufficient” to allow for quick vaccinations.
“It’s good news that it won’t be limited supply. It’s certainly not the situation that we were dealing with last year for the adults,” Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, told CNN. But “sufficient supply doesn’t necessarily mean that every provider who orders vaccine gets the shipment in the first week.”
If Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids is approved, what will rollout look like?
The rollout for vaccines for kids is likely to be similar to the adult vaccinations, with shipments being sent to vaccine providers around the country like pediatrician offices, local pharmacies, and even schools. And many of the potential vaccine providers are already set up, which is a huge time saver.
“The pharmacies are enrolled already as Covid-19 vaccine providers. They’ve been providing vaccine for adults and adolescents. They know how to store and handle and give the vaccine,” Hannan explained.
“And then, additionally, there will be schools — having school-based clinics and school-located clinics to give the vaccine. Those do require a lot of planning, and we don’t necessarily have all the information we need right now about the vaccine, but those are the things that are being talked about right now.”
We know that vaccines are our best bet to keep our communities safe and help slow the pandemic. So a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for the younger kids will be a sigh of relief for many worried parents across the country.