The Pfizer vaccine could be authorized for children ages 5-11 by the end of October, according to U.S. health officials. It’s expected that Pfizer, which developed the shot with Germany’s BioNTech, will have enough data by then to determine whether it’s safe and effective. If so, they will seek emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. The FDA would then make a decision within three weeks from the time of the EUA submission.
As schools have started for the year with in-person learning and the Delta variant is still a real concern, many parents are eager to get their children vaccinated as quickly as possible. Some have even enrolled their children in clinical trials in hopes of them getting the vaccine sooner.
Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the Pfizer vaccine would likely be available for kids in October, and that the Moderna vaccine will follow, possibly in November.
FDA officials said they would work quickly to approve COVID-19 vaccines for children once the required data is received. But on Friday, the FDA warned parents not to seek out the COVID vaccine for their children until it has been approved, saying more research needs to be done regarding the strength and doses of the vaccine.
“It’s important that the public recognize that, because young children are still growing and developing, it’s critical that thorough and robust clinical trials of adequate size are completed to evaluate the safety and the immune response to a COVID-19 vaccine in this population,” said the FDA. “Children are not small adults – and issues that may be addressed in pediatric vaccine trials can include whether there is a need for different doses or different strength formulations of vaccines already used for adults.”
It should also be noted that even if kids ages 5-11 can get the vaccine in October, it’s highly unlikely that they would be fully vaccinated by Halloween–so expect to continue with the usual COVID safety protocols if you’re attending parties or going trick-or-treating.