The White House said Wednesday that the COVID-19 vaccine regime for kids younger than 4 years old will likely be 3 doses when it’s approved — and vowed to make millions more hard-to-find Pfizer anti-viral pills available in coming months.
Two clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine on children ages 6 months to 2 years old, and ages 2 to 4 are underway but the older age group hasn’t yet met standards, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a press conference.
“Dose and regimen for children 6 months to 24 months worked well but it turned out the other group from 24 months to four years did not yet reach the level of non-inferiority so the studies are continued,” Fauci said, referencing effectiveness standard comparison to adults.
“It looks like it will be a 3 dose regimen. I don’t think we can predict when we will see it [approved],” he said— adding he can’t speak for the Food and Drug administration.
“We need to be patient,” he said. “That’s why the system works. The FDA is very scrupulous in their ability and in their effort to make sure that, before something gets approved for any age, and especially with children…that they will be safe, and that they will be effective.”
Meanwhile, White House officials promised to release millions more Pfizer antiviral pills by June, amid reports that the medicine has been difficult to find in recent weeks.
“We’ve purchased 20 million treatment courses of the Pfizer pill and we accelerated delivery of the first 10 million from September to the end of June,” said White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.
“We have hundreds of thousands of pills across the first quarter of 2022 per month, and that moves to millions in order to complete the first half of the 20 million by the end of June.”
He added, “I want to remind everybody that that is one of five effective treatments that we have in our nation’s medicine cabinet.”
The promise to increase availability of the pill — and to continue developing vaccines for the young age group — comes amid a seven day daily average of 692,400 COVID-19 cases nationally, and about 2,200 deaths per day.
Health officials around the world also said Wednesday they are closely monitoring a possibly more contagious new Omicron subvariant that has been found in at least 40 countries, including nearly 100 cases in the US.