COVID-19 vaccinations for U.S. children ages 12 to 15 could begin as early as Thursday.
A panel of independent experts must review all of the safety and efficacy data for vaccine use within that age group, which they are scheduled to do Wednesday.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, more than 3.8 million children have tested positive for COVID, accounting for 14 percent of all virus cases.
On Monday, May 10, the FDA granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15. That decision came after the FDA analyzed clinical trial data showing the vaccine was 100 percent effective in more than 2,200 adolescents.
“It was a relatively straightforward decision, the response to the vaccine was excellent. In fact, it was even better in the younger age group,” Peter Marks, director of FDA Center for Biological Evaluation and Research, said.
During Wednesday’s meeting all of the data from the trial will be presented to the panel and the public. If the panel votes yes, the CDC director would then need to sign off on that recommendation which is expected to happen quickly.
Because the dose is the same one given to adults, the shots will be available immediately at pharmacies and other vaccination sites. Many pediatricians are preparing to get the vaccine too, making sure they have a freezer that’s cold enough and training staff.