Pfizer said in a study released on Friday that the COVID-19 vaccine it developed in partnership with BioNTech has been shown to be nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infection in children aged 5-11.
The study, which was published on the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) website, comes ahead of the agency's advisory panel meeting on Oct. 26 to decide on whether to recommend the vaccine for younger children. Pfizer has requested an emergency use authorization to allow for people younger than 12 and five or older to receive its vaccine.
The study relied on data from a smaller dose than the full-strength doses given to those who are already eligible. The company tested a 10-microgram regiment of two shots spaced three weeks apart, and found the regiment was 90.7% effective at preventing symptomatic infection.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently only approved for individuals 12 years-old and older. The FDA is expected to publish its independent analysis of Pfizer's data as early as Friday.
While it will be up to the FDA to decide on whether the vaccine is safe and effective for younger individuals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the final say on whether it will be granted approval.
Should the process result in final consent, children could begin receiving the vaccine in November ahead of the Christmas holiday the following month. The Biden administration has already bought enough doses to ensure children in the age group can be vaccinated should approval be granted.
The White House's plan is to use a variety of forums to administer the shots, including pharmacies, children's hospitals, pediatricians’ offices, family offices, family doctors’ offices, rural clinics and community clinics.
"We will be ready, but again, it's all pending FDA and CDC decision," Jeff Zients, US President Joe Biden's COVID response coordinator, said on Wednesday./agencies