On Thursday, Oct. 7, drug manufacturers Pfizer and BioNTech said they have asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize their COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 5-11. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is currently the only vaccine fully approved for adults by the FDA. For children ages 12-15, it is approved under emergency use authorization (EUA) rules. The companies are requesting that the FDA expand the EUA so that children ages 5-11 can receive the vaccine as well.
“With new cases in children in the U.S. continuing to be at a high level, this submission is an important step in our ongoing effort against COVID-19.”
Pfizer, in a statement
FDA officials said they could have a decision on the matter sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving.
With a ruling expected in just a month or so, children ages 5-11 may be able to get vaccinated as soon as December. Such authorization could speed up efforts from school systems that are looking to vaccinate their students. California recently announced that eligible students will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in 2022. If the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized to be used with younger children, other school systems may consider similar measures. Right now, individuals will need to wait to see how the FDA rules on the subject.