The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to extend the authorization to use the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to children aged 12 to 15 next week, giving access to millions of young Americans, according to numerous reports.
The New York Times, citing officials familiar with the plans, first announced on Monday that the FDA must provide drug manufacturers with an extended emergency use permit, a key step in raising immunity levels in the country, which in turn will reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will then convene its vaccine consultation panel and make recommendations on how to use inoculations in the adolescent age group. The Pfizer vaccine has already been approved for those over 1
The enlargement would provide great comfort to schools that are preparing to return to some semblance of normal activity by the autumn.
In March, Pfizer and BioNTech said clinical trial data showed that their vaccine was extremely effective in children aged 12 to 15, with strong antibody reactions and no serious side effects. The companies have also launched a clinical trial for the use of the vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 years.
“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 give them the opportunity to return to everyday life at school and to meet friends and family, while protecting them and their loved ones.”
Children are much less likely to suffer from severe cases of COVID-19, but they can still be infected with the coronavirus.
More than 147 million people have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine in the United States, and about 131 million stings have been caused by a Pfizer-BioNTech shot, according to the CDC. However, the Biden administration is working on a new phase of its vaccination blitz as demand for the shots begins to wane.
The Times also said Monday that experts say “herd immunity” in the country is becoming less likely due to a combination of vaccine volatility and rising alarming variants of COVID-19.
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