The Food and Drug Administration said Sunday that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to be safe for children under 5 years old. Vaccinations could begin as soon as next week. According to the FDA’s review, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths for children 6 months to 4 years old are higher than for children in other age groups. The agency said children who received Pfizer’s shots during clinical trials developed high levels of virus-fighting antibodies expected to offer protection against COVID-19. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are expected to offer two doses three weeks apart and a third at least two months later. Each shot will be one-tenth the dose administered to adults. Moderna’s vaccine was also evaluated and a final decision will be made. The FDA on Wednesday will ask an independent panel of vaccine experts to debate the data from Pfizer and Moderna. An official decision is expected to be made shortly after Wednesday’s meeting.
More than 30,000 U.S. children under 5 years old have been hospitalized with the virus. Nearly 500 COVID-19 children deaths have been reported. However, it seems that parents have some reticence to children vaccination and it’s expected demand for shots to be low, at least for the moment. Things could change.