Pfizer has asked for emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages five to 11, the company said Thursday.
“With new cases in children in the US continuing to be at a high level, this submission is an important step in our ongoing effort against COVID19,” the drugmaker wrote on Twitter.
“We’re committed to working with the FDA with the ultimate goal of helping protect children against this serious public health threat.”
The agency has scheduled its panel of advisers to meet and discuss the application on Oct. 26, making it possible that kids could receive the shot shortly after.
Pfizer has said its vaccine, which was created with German partner BioNTech, was proven to be safe and effective in clinical trials with kids ages 5 to 11.
The vaccine is already authorized for emergency use in those ages 12 to 15 and is fully approved for anyone over the age of 16.
Children currently account for about 27 percent of the country’s coronavirus cases and an increasing percentage of hospitalizations, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former head of the FDA who serves on Pfizer’s board of directors, has said that authorizing the shot for young children could pave the way for vaccine mandates in schools.
“I think you’re going to see more local school districts and governors make those recommendations,” Gottlieb said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
“Eventually [the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] is going to make a recommendation about whether this should be included in the childhood immunization schedule. My guess is they’re waiting for more of the vaccines to be fully licensed to make that kind of a recommendation. But I would expect this eventually to be required as part of the childhood immunization schedule.”