COVID vaccines could be available for young children by end of February
COVID-19 vaccines could become available for children younger than 5 by the end of February, the Washington Post first reported and a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Axios on Monday.
Between the lines: Pfizer's vaccine would initially be available as a two-dose regimen under this plan. But recent data has shown that two doses do not provide a strong enough immune response in all age groups — meaning a major goal of the plan would be to begin the multi-week vaccination process while data is gathered on a third dose.
What to expect Pfizer and BioNTech are expected to submit a request to the FDA as soon as Tuesday for emergency-use authorization of their COVID vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years old, per WashPost.
- Regulators could then begin reviewing the two-shot data. Data on the effectiveness of a third shot isn't expected until until at least late March.
Zoom in: "The idea is, let’s go ahead and start the review of two doses," a source told WashPost. "If the data holds up in the submission, you could start kids on their primary baseline months earlier than if you don’t do anything until the third-dose data comes in."
- Once the third shot data is available, regulators could then decide whether to authorize a third dose, WashPost writes.
Details: Pfizer announced in December that two shots of the vaccine did not produce an immune response in 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds that is comparable to that of adults, although it did produce an adequate immune response in children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years.
What we're watching: If it comes to fruition, the plan could be a source of relief for parents anxious to get their young children vaccinated.
- On the other hand, the unconventional authorization process could also add to vaccine skepticism, especially as uptake has been low among younger children already eligible for the shots.