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The White House Is Ready To Distribute Covid-19 Vaccines For Kids 5-11 Once Approved

Children could get vaccinated as early as the first weeks of November, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

by Morgan Brinlee
Originally Published: 

The White House has announced plans to ensure quick, convenient, and equitable distribution of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccines should it be approved for children. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing clinical trial data from Pfizer and BioNTech to determine whether or not Emergency Use Authorization of the vaccine should be expanded to include children aged 5 to 11. If they opt to expand the vaccine’s EUA, the White House is prepared to vaccinate 28 million children within those age groups as early as early November.

“The start of a vaccination program for children ages 5-11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline,” the White House said Wednesday. “But our planning efforts mean that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation. These steps will be critical in ensuring that we are staying ahead of the virus by keeping kids and families safe, especially those at highest risk.”

Earlier this month, Pfizer and BioNTech filed a formal request to expand the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization of their Covid-19 vaccine to include children aged 5 to 11. An independent advisory committee for the FDA is expected to meet later this month to discuss that request. That meeting will then be followed by a meeting of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) independent advisory committee with children receiving shots as early as the first weeks of November if approved, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“If all goes well and we get the regulatory approval and the recommendation from the CDC, it’s entirely possible, if not very likely, that vaccines will be available for children from age 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November,” Fauci said during an interview on ABC’s This Week.

If approved for use in children aged 5 to 11, the White House has said it has procured enough of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine to inoculate 28 million children. Along with packaging the vaccine in smaller configurations more suitable for distribution among children, the White House has also arranged for the vaccine to come with smaller needles suitable for administration in children.

The White House said Wednesday it was working to arrange vaccination sites in settings parents trust most, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, pharmacies, and school-or-community-based sites. More than 25,000 pediatric and primary care providers and more than 100 children’s hospital systems are expected to establish vaccine sites for children aged 5 to 11 should the vaccine receive FDA approval, according to the White House.

In an effort to ensure vaccine confidence among parents, the White House has also announced plans to partner with schools, state and local health departments, faith leaders, and national and community organizations to provide accurate and culturally responsive information about the vaccine and its risks.

As of Oct. 14, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has reported nearly 6.2 million children have tested positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020. As such, children are reported to make up 16.4% of the country’s cumulative cases.

On Wednesday, the White House referred to the expected approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine as “another major milestone” in efforts to protect Americans. “Millions of adolescents ages 12-17 have been safely vaccinated, and we know vaccines work,” the White House said. “Fully vaccinated individuals are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 and have a high degree of protection, including against the Delta variant. The consequences of a pediatric Covid-19 case can be serious and potentially last months.”

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