FDA Reportedly Set To Approve Pfizer Vaccine For 12- To 15-Year-Olds
The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to expand approval for use of the Pfizer BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children ages 12-15 over the next week to allow access to millions of young Americans, according to multiple reports.
The New York Times reported Monday, citing officials familiar with the plans, for the first time that the FDA would give drug manufacturers expanded approval for emergency use. This is an important step in increasing the country's immunity, which in turn would reduce hospital stays and deaths.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would then convene their Vaccination Advisory Board and make recommendations on how vaccinations should be used in the adolescent age group. The Pfizer vaccine is already approved for people aged 16 and over.
The expansion would offer great convenience to schools preparing to return to normal activity by the fall.
In March, Pfizer and BioNTech said that clinical trial data showed their vaccine was extremely effective in children ages 12-15, with strong antibody responses and no serious side effects. The companies have also started a clinical trial of the vaccine's use in children ages 5-11.
“All over the world we long for a normal life. This is especially true for our children, ”said Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, in a statement in March. "It is very important to enable them to get back to school, to meet friends and family and to protect them and their loved ones."
Children suffer from severe cases of COVID-19 much less often, but can still be infected with the coronavirus.
More than 147 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 131 million shots were made with the Pfizer BioNTech shot, according to the CDC. However, the Biden government has been working on a new phase of their vaccination flash as the demand for the shots gradually fades.
The Times also reported Monday that experts say achieving "herd immunity" in the country is increasingly unlikely due to a combination of vaccine reluctance and the emergence of problematic COVID-19 variants.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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