Pfizer asks US regulators to allow vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11.
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech asked regulators in the United States to allow the use of its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, Pfizer said in a tweet on Thursday. If regulators agree, vaccine shots could begin within a matter of weeks.
The application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) comes as COVID-19 infections have soared in children, hitting their highest point in the pandemic in early September, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The FDA has set a date of October 26 for outside advisers to meet and discuss the Pfizer application, making it possible for kids to begin receiving the vaccines shortly afterward.
A rapid authorization could help mitigate a potential surge of cases this fall, with schools already open nationwide.
The companies said on September 20 that this vaccine is already authorized for teenagers age 12 to 15 and fully approved for people age 16 and up, and has been shown to induce a strong immune response in the target age group in a 2,268-participant clinical trial.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized in teenagers aged 12-15 roughly a month after these companies filed for authorization.
While kids are less susceptible to severe COVID-19, they can spread the virus to others, including vulnerable populations that are more at risk of severe illness.
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