White House announces plan to distribute Covid vaccine to kids age 5 to 11 as soon as it's authorized

White House announces plan to distribute Covid vaccine to kids age 5 to 11 as soon as it's authorized

White House announces plan to distribute Covid vaccine to kids age 5 to 11 as soon as it's authorized

Thomas Lo (15) receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, May 13, 2021.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

The White House on Wednesday outlined its plan to distribute doses of Pfizer and BioNTech‘s Covid-19 vaccines to kids ages 5 to 11 as soon as it’s authorized by U.S. drug regulators. 

A key Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory group is scheduled to meet on Oct. 26 to discuss Pfizer’s data, followed by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meeting on Nov. 2. The shots could be approved shortly after that meeting, depending on how quickly the FDA and the CDC move.

“The start of a vaccination program for children ages 5-11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline, but our planning efforts mean that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation,” the White House wrote.

Pfizer has asked the federal regulators to authorize a two-dose regimen of 10 micrograms — a third of the dosage used for teens and adults.

The packaging for Pfizer’s vaccine will be changed to accommodate the formula and dose created specifically for 5- to 11-year-olds, administration officials said Wednesday. Pfizer will provide 10-dose vaccine vials in cartons of 10 vials each, giving doctors’ offices and community health groups 100 total doses per package.

Health providers can store the vaccines for 10 weeks under normal refrigeration, or for 6 months in ultracold temperatures, officials said, adding that the vaccines will also contain smaller needles for children.

More than 25,000 pediatricians’ offices and tens of thousands of pharmacies nationwide will provide vaccines for the rollout to younger age groups. Biden administration officials also said the White House was working with the Children’s Hospital Association to create vaccination sites at over 100 pediatric hospital systems by November.

The White House said the Department of Health and Human Services will conduct a public education campaign to reach parents and other caregivers with “accurate and culturally-responsive information” about the vaccine and the risks that Covid poses to children.

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