The Comirnaty vaccine from Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech (NSDQ:BNTX) could soon be available for children between the ages of 5 and 11, now that CDC has backed its use.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky formally authorized the vaccine after the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously recommended its use.
“We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Walensky said.
The members of the CDC have “a lot of enthusiasm for this vaccine in this age group,” said Dr. Beth Bell, an ACIP member and professor at the University of Washington.
The vaccine will be available to younger children at the 10-μg dose level, which is one-third as much as the amount in the version for individuals 12 and up.
Earlier this week, the White House signaled that the federal government had acquired enough Pfizer vaccine for all children aged 5 to 11.
The federal government plans to partner with a network of schools, pediatricians, family doctors and other facilities to administer the vaccine.
In a Pfizer Phase 3 trial, the vaccine had 91% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19.
Last week, FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee also voted in favor of authorizing the vaccine in younger children.
American Medical Association praised the support for vaccinating younger children. “We are hopeful that millions of children will receive the vaccine in the coming weeks and months—significantly reducing their risk of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death, and bringing the end of the pandemic closer,” said AMA President Dr. Gerald E. Harmon, in a statement.
Harmon also pushed for equitable vaccination of children, explaining that hospitalization rates are three times higher for some ethnic groups compared with white children. “Ensuring equitable access to the pediatric vaccine will be critical, including through school located clinics,” Harmon said.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery, Infectious Disease