Wait for approval to vaccinate younger children against COVID-19 down to ‘days, not weeks’

Tracking Coronavirus

FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021 file photo, a nurse loads a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in Jackson, Miss. Millions of Americans are now eligible to receive a Pfizer booster shot to help increase their protection against the worst effects of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The waiting game is almost over for millions of children across the country. Pfizer/BioNTech said it plans to apply to the FDA to make its COVID-19 vaccine available to children as young as 5 very soon.

“It is a question of days, not weeks,” Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla told ABC News Sunday.

If the FDA approves the vaccine for children, it would offer protection to the largest remaining group of people who aren’t eligible for the vaccine. Kansas City hospitals say they are seeing increasing numbers of children who are sick enough with COVID-19 that they need to be hospitalized.

We are still weeks away from getting shots in the arms of younger children, even if Pfizer applies for approval before the end of the month, according to doctors at the University of Kansas Health System.

“It will still take several weeks for that data analysis to go through so it probably still would not be until later October, till those vaccines for those younger groups are available,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection and prevention at the health system, said during an update Monday. “But that that could change certainly we have seen how things pivot fairly quickly.”

As the wait for approval to give younger children a COVID-19 vaccination continues, many health departments and hospitals started offering boosters for high-risk individuals on Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed boosters for some who got their last shot at least six months ago, but continue to warn the real problem is vaccinating people who remain unvaccinated.

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