As the US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for children and teens ages 12 to 15 years-old by early next week, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, said it’s going to take longer to get the shot in arms of even younger kids.
He said researchers and the FDA will have to take additional steps to ensure that the vaccine is safe for kids 2 to 11 years old because the dosage will be different.
Right now, Pfizer applied for emergency use authorization for 12-to-15 year-olds using the same size dose as adults.
“It’s going to be really figuring out right dose and figuring out safety of various doses, so they may do those dose escalation trials,” Gupta said about the next age group.
He said he thinks scientists will be able to figure out the safe dose by the end of the year or at least by the fall.
“There’s plenty of evidence that this vaccine produces antibodies and those antibodies are protective. But I think for 2-to-11-year-olds there’s going to be a couple extra steps which is why it will take a little longer,” he said.
Once kids are vaccinated, Gupta said they will be able to play outside, participate in team sports without masks and gather indoors with other vaccinated friends, among other things. He said it is important for children to get vaccinated because it increases the percentage of the US population that is eligible to get the shot – get the country closer to herd immunity.
For context: The FDA is currently reviewing data submitted by Pfizer to support the extended use. Pfizer said at the end of March that a clinical trial involving 2,260 12-to-15-year-olds showed its efficacy is 100% and it is well tolerated. The vaccine is currently authorized in the US for emergency use in people 16 and older.