The Food and Drug Administration acted on Monday to expand Pfizer-BioNTech’s emergency use authorization for its infectious-disease infectious-disease to include kids ages 12-15. Now, many are wondering how quickly those shots will make it into the newly eligible population’s arms.
“Having a vaccine authorized for a younger population is a critical step in continuing to lessen the immense public health burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is set to meet Wednesday, during which they will discuss the safety of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine in kids ages 12-15. According to a draft agenda for the meeting, the committee will vote on a recommendation for administering the vaccine to this population, which then goes before CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky for final approval.
Walensky has previously said that the agency would move quickly to “make this available” following the FDA’s authorization.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also said pediatricians “stand ready to assist” in vaccination efforts, and released recommendations for health care providers on how to prepare for the rollout.
Several state health departments have advised counties to prepare to hold additional vaccination clinics, with some already sending out sign-up sheets to gage interest. Elsewhere school districts have begun holding vaccine clinics, as prior to the expanded EUA, teens ages 16 and up were already eligible for Pfizer’s two-dose shot. Moderna’s two-dose vaccine is currently authorized for those 18 years and older, as is Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose shot.
“The timing of this approved expansion could not be more perfect, as Monroe County shifts our vaccination efforts to more localized, neighborhood clinics, many of which are in our schools,” Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County Health Commissioner, told WHAM. “We want to encourage all parents and guardians to contact their child’s pediatrician to discuss the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine and the process by which it has been approved.”