When will COVID-19 vaccines be available for children?

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C.(WNCN) – The country’s vaccination efforts have been on several tracks over the last month. Boosters for all three authorized vaccines are moving through the approval process.

Public health officials are focused on getting vaccine shots to individuals who are unvaccinated. Those unvaccinated include children under 12.

Pfizer has applied for authorization of their vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The FDA has scheduled a meeting for Oct. 26 to discuss authorization.

“We know from our vast experience with other pediatric vaccines that children are not small adults, and we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of clinical trial data submitted in support of the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine used in a younger pediatric population, which may need a different dosage or formulation from that used in an older pediatric population or adults,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA Commissioner, in a press release.

If the FDA advisory panel recommends vaccinating this age group, Woodcock will be in charge of signing off on the vaccines.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices was scheduled to meet on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. While an agenda has not been posted, this was the last scheduled meeting for the remainder of the year.

CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky would then be tasked with making the CDC’s official recommendation. Walensky could sign off as early as Nov. 3.

Along with dosing size, Dr. Christina Johns, pediatrician and senior medical advisor at PM Pediatrics said the FDA and CDC will be focusing on dosing for children, effectiveness data, and side effect profile when making their decision.

“I think the likelihood is extremely high that this will fly through with sailing colors and be approved,” said Johns.

Even after vaccinations for children are given, she anticipates it will take some time before we see dramatic changes in school settings.

“I think for schools, it will take some time. We need to get a significant number of students vaccinated first. From there, we’ll need to look at community rates in individual communities to see what the circulating positivity rates are before we start to remove some of those layered protective measures that are in place in most jurisdictions,” said Johns.

Pfizer announced their child dosing would be a third of the size adults get.

The White House announced Wednesday they procured enough supplies to vaccinate all 28 million children ages 5 to 11 along with smaller needles.

The administration announced the vaccines would be available at:

  • Over 25,000 pediatricians’ offices and other primary care sites
  • Over 100 children’s hospitals and health systems across the country
  • Tens of thousands of pharmacies
  • Hundreds of school and community-based clinics
  • Hundreds of community health centers and rural health clinics

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