On Sunday, Federal health officials stated that kid-sized doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines appear to be safe and effective for kids under 5.
In what is said to be a key step toward a long-awaited decision to begin vaccinating the youngest American children, the FDA posted its analysis of the Pfizer shot ahead on whether the shots are ready for the nation’s 18 million babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Kids under 5 are the only group not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in the US.
A similar analysis was made last week of Moderna’s shots for children under 6. If regulators clear the shots by one or both companies, vaccinations could begin as soon as next week with the drugmakers ready to rapidly ship doses ordered by the government.
The FDA said children who received Pfizer’s shots during testing developed high levels of virus-fighting antibodies expected to protect them against coronavirus. That’s the basic threshold needed to win FDA authorization. Pfizer’s vaccine, given as a three-shot series, appeared 80% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19.
On the coming Wednesday, the FDA will ask an independent panel of vaccine experts to debate both companies’ data before voting. The FDA is not required to follow the group’s recommendations, but the process is seen as a key step in publicly vetting the shots.