There are two major developments involving the COVID-19 vaccines.
A new option may soon be available for adults, and children under age five may soon be able to get vaccinated too. It’s something many parents with young children have been waiting for.
Pfizer has officially asked the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization for their vaccine for children under the age of five, meaning the shots could become available in just weeks. They are the group still waiting on a chance to be vaccinated.
Pfizer and BioNTech have been testing two doses of their vaccine at one-tenth the strength of the adult dose. The trial suffered a setback in December.
While the low dose produced a strong immune response in children aged six months to two years old, the response was less strong in kids aged two to four. The companies have since begun testing the third dose.
While those studies are completed, the FDA can begin reviewing the data on the two-dose vaccine.
While children have generally suffered milder symptoms of COVID, more have required hospitalization as cases have climbed dramatically. A study of hundreds of children hospitalized with COVID found nearly all who were seriously ill had not been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, another option may be coming for adults. Novavax has asked the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization for its vaccine in the United States. The company said its two large clinical trials show its vaccine is safe and has an efficacy of about 90% overall.
The Novavax vaccine is made more traditionally, using lab-made pieces of the spike protein to create the vaccine. It may be an acceptable alternative for people concerned about mRNA technology who haven’t opted for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Novavax is already in use in at least 170 countries.
The review process for Pfizer’s vaccine for children under five and the Novavax vaccine is expected to take a few weeks. The FDA and CDC are both expected to seek the guidance of their advisory panels before any authorization would be issued.