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A 12-year-old receives the first dose of the Pfiizer vaccine. Photo: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The U.S. COVID-19 vaccine supply is large enough to meet the rise in demand prompted by the approval of booster shots and the imminent authorization of vaccines for younger children, AP reported.

Driving the news: Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people over 65 or at risk of developing severe COVID-19.

  • Approval of the vaccine for children 5-11 could come in a matter of weeks, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said last week.

Why it matters: The approval of boosters for select Americans as well as inoculating children could lead to a significant jump in demand for vaccine doses, AP noted.

State of play: States around the country say they are prepared to meet the spike in demand.

  • “I hope that we have the level of interest in the booster ... that we need more vaccines,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said earlier this week, per AP. “That’s simply not where we are today. We have plenty of vaccines.”
  • Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, told AP that many states had planned their vaccine supply around a broader booster shot recommendation than the one approved.

But, but, but: Yet states have more to contend with than just the sheer number of doses.

  • Pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens have been dealing with labor shortages that may require them to hire more staff to meet the spike in demand for doses, according to the Wall Street Journal.

States must also strike a balance between ordering vaccine doses to meet demand and avoiding waste.

  • Wisconsin’s health secretary, Karen Timberlake, told AP that the approval of the new shots could see more vaccine doses going to waste.
  • A report out this month noted that the U.S. has already wasted more than 15 million doses since March 1.

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Oct 26, 2021 - Health

FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-to-11-year-olds

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel Tuesday endorsed a two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5–11. The final vote was 17 members in favor, with one member abstaining.

Why it matters: While not binding, the decision is a long-awaited step toward getting COVID vaccines in the arms of some of the youngest Americans potentially in time to get many fully vaccinated in advance of the holiday season.

Updated 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot — FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds — Moderna says vaccine shows strong immune response in kids
  2. Health: COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought — 96% of Tyson Foods employees vaccinated ahead of mandate deadline — U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers
  3. Politics: Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools — Alabama governor orders state agencies to fight federal vaccine mandate — Axios-Ipsos poll: Confidence in Biden COVID recovery tumbles
  4. Education: Benefits of vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 26, 2021 - World

Moderna to sell African countries up to 110 million COVID vaccine doses

A nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine at the Oltepesi Dispensary in Kajiado, Kenya. Photo: Patrick Meinhardt/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna announced Tuesday it agreed to sell up to 110 million COVID vaccine doses to African countries, saying it's prepared to deliver 15 million doses in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Why it matters: The additional doses will help African Union member nations that are lagging behind vaccination targets set by the World Health Organization because of vaccine shortages, though the sale comes after Moderna faced criticism for not doing enough to vaccinate the world.