Pfizer asked the U.S. government to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for youngsters ages 5 to 11. If regulators give the go-ahead, reduced-dose kids’ shots could begin within a matter of weeks. That could bring many families a step closer to being done with remote learning, virus scares and repeated school shutdowns and quarantines.
“My son asked about playing sports. ‘After you’re vaccinated.’ He asked about seeing his cousins again. ‘After you’re vaccinated.’ A lot of our plans are on hold,” said Sarah Staffiere of Waterville, Maine, whose 7-year-old has a rare immune disease that has forced the family to be extra cautious throughout the pandemic.
“When he’s vaccinated, it would give our family our lives back,” she said.
Expanding vaccine availability to roughly 28 million more U.S. children is seen as another milestone in the fight against the virus and comes amid an alarming rise in serious infections in youngsters because of the extra-contagious delta variant. It would also push the U.S. vaccination drive further ahead of much of the rest of the world at a time when many poor countries are desperately short of vaccine.
The Food and Drug Administration must decide whether the shots are safe and effective in younger children.