Bridget Melo, 5, prepares to be vaccinated with one of two reduced doses of 10 mcg Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine during a trial at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, on September 28, 2021, in video.
Sean Rocco | Duke University | via Reuters
The U.S. government will rely heavily on pediatricians and family doctors to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 starting next month, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zientes said Wednesday.
The White House has asked governors to include pediatricians and other providers in vaccination programs so that they can start vaccinating as soon as US regulators allow doses for young children, Zient told reporters.
Federal health officials have also asked states to plan outreach campaigns, Zient said, and to ensure that Covid vaccination sites are available in areas of “high social vulnerability” and in rural areas.
“If it is approved by the FDA and CDC, we will be ready,” Zient said during a press briefing on the pandemic. “We have stock. I want to emphasize that this is a different stock; the dose for children is different from the dose for adults. “
Parents say they are looking forward to getting their children vaccinated as the kids kicked off the new school year with a delta option that is still prevalent across America. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of new cases of Covid in children remains exceptionally high, with more than 750,000 cases of children reported in the past four weeks.
For the week ending Oct. 7, children accounted for 24.8% of reported weekly Covid cases, even though they make up about 22% of the US population, according to the group. Childhood infections have accounted for 16.3% of all Covid cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the academy.
On Thursday, Pfizer asked the FDA to approve a Covid vaccine developed by a drug maker with BioNTech for children ages 5-11.
The company presented data that showed that a two-dose regimen of 10 micrograms – one-third of the dose used for adults and children 12 years and older – is safe and elicits a strong immune response in clinical trials in young children. He said the shots were well tolerated and elicited an immune response and side effects comparable to those seen in a study of people aged 16 to 25.
Vaccinations for young children could begin in early November pending a positive regulatory review, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Wednesday.
A key FDA vaccine advisory committee is scheduled to meet on October 26 to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech data on vaccines for children, followed by an advisory group meeting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on November 2. If all goes well, doses can be distributed. during the November meeting, he told reporters.