CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — We have our first look at data on Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for younger children in the U.S.
The vaccine is administered in two doses, 21 days apart, the same as it is for adults.
But, the dose itself is one-third smaller than the dose for adults. Doctors say it is routine to adjust dosage in vaccines and medications for younger children.
Pfizer said in its trials, the vaccine was safe, well tolerated and sparked robust antibody responses.
It said side effects were generally comparable to those observed in participants 16 to 25 years old. Nearly 2,300 younger children received the vaccines in trials and there was no shortage of volunteers.
“Of course, the children are volunteered by their parents and the parents tend to be better educated they're often medical professionals," said Dr. William Schaffner with Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "I volunteered my children for influenza trials for example, and there are many other parents who just wanted their child to have a chance of getting vaccinated,"
The data comes a little earlier than expected and it has not been peer reviewed yet.
Next, it will be shared with an FDA panel for a review that could take four to six weeks. That review may lead to emergency use authorization consideration, making the vaccine possibly available around Oct. 31, 2021.
There's urgency to get more kids vaccinated, with children accounting for nearly a third of all COVID-19 cases now reported in the U.S.
“Because increasingly our children's hospitals are seeing admissions of completely normal, healthy children laid low by covert in a very serious way," Schaffner said. "We'd like to prevent obviously as much of that as possible."
Vaccine data from Moderna on this age group will also likely be coming soon. That means we could have two vaccines for all school- aged children.
Data on children younger than 5 will be provided later this winter.