This week, White House officials began instructing governors across the country to get ready to vaccinate children as young as five by early November. The instructions are being circulated in anticipation of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine receiving approval for use on younger children in the coming weeks.
According to an official from the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House has purchased 65 million pediatric doses of the vaccine in anticipation of approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to give the shots to children between ages 5 and 11, according to an official from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). That number of doses could vaccinate around 28 million American children.
Pfizer has reportedly asked the FDA to approve the pediatric doses for “emergency use” for children under 12. The pediatric doses are not interchangeable with the adult doses, which have different dosage and dilution ranges.
The White House anticipates the requested FDA authorization will be forthcoming and has started its plans for pushing the doses to state governments, private pharmacies, and pediatricians.
The HHS is also gearing up to initiate a public relations campaign directed at parents, urging their younger kids to receive the jab.
An advisory committee of the FDA is expected to consider the emergency use request on October 26. An official FDA decision is then scheduled as soon as the end of this month.
After that, a meeting of “expert advisors” with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planned for November 2 and 3. The recommendation that could come from that meeting would be expected to become the federal government’s last hurdle in moving forward with vaccinating younger children.
According to government statistics, 66.2% of Americans 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, and 76.6% have received at least one shot. Of children between 12 and 16, 55% have received at least one dose.