White House Prepares For Youth Vaccine Approval
A decision on allowing children to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is expected in the coming weeks. The federal government said they are beginning to prepare now.
The FDA is meeting next week to decide on whether or not to approve the Pfizer vaccine for younger Americans while the CDC is expected to meet the week after that.
That means if they both approve the move, children as young as five will be eligible to get vaccinated by early November.
“These vaccine doses will be shipped with all of the supplies necessary to vaccinate kids, including smaller needles,” said Jeffrey Zients, White House COVID Response Coordinator.
The plan is to send these supplies to kid-friendly locations like pediatrician offices, hospitals, pharmacies and schools. The rollout will also include an educational campaign to hopefully ease concerns parents may have.
“We will work with schools to send letters home to parents,” said Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General, “We will convene doctors and health clinics and support them to deliver vaccinations as soon as they have conversations with families.”
“It’s one of the age groups where we have seen the largest increase in cases this fall,” said Dr. Josh Meyerson of the Northwest MI Health Department, “And certainly attending school is part of the equation in that.”
The rollout is not as simple as giving children a third of the adult doses that health departments and pharmacies already have.
“It’s going to be a separate supply that we’re going to get and we’ll have to manage that,” said Meyerson, “because it is such a smaller dose you can’t just take from the adult vials.”
Despite the added logistics, Meyerson expects the process to go smoother than the start of the year when supplies were low and demand was very high.
“Comparatively this is a very narrow age range,” said Meyerson, “We have a lot of providers now who are signed up to give these vaccines.”