“Things are looking good, everything is going according to plan,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told German newsweekly Der Spiegel. He noted that the raw data – specifically regarding the results of its trial in children between 5 and 11 years old – is currently being prepared for regulatory filing. BioNTech Chief Medical Officer Özlem Tureci said they are working to produce smaller doses of the vaccine in preparation for approval by authorities.
A Logical (and Reassuring) Explanation For Why Children’s COVID Vaccines Are Taking So Long
This news may mean that kids in the 5- to 11-year age group may be eligible to get the jab by year’s end, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We want to move quickly, we anticipate moving quickly, but we also want to have the efficacy data and the safety data that the [Food and Drug Administration] will require … to make sure that it is the right thing for kids,” she said in an interview with NBC’s Today on Monday.
As Walensky said, vaccine makers must first submit their data to the FDA for emergency use authorization. It will then likely take a few weeks, but not months, for the FDA to determine whether the shots are safe for children.
“We will look at that data from the FDA, from the CDC, with the urgency that we all feel for getting our kids vaccinated, and we’re hoping by the end of the year,” she said.
After it was authorized by the FDA, an immunization advisory committee within the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention met to determine if the CDC would recommend its use in the new age group.
This authorization – which, like the adult vaccine, came much earlier than anticipated – opened up the US vaccination campaign to millions more individuals and was another major step forward in raising the level of immunity in the population, with the ultimate goal to lower the amount of hospitalizations and deaths.
The COVID-19 Vaccine and Children: What Parents Need to Know
For those parents hesitant to vaccinate their tweens and teens, pediatricians and epidemiologists alike recommend they receive it and note that adolescents in this age group, although technically children, tend to respond to the coronavirus the same way as adults.