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Pfizer Vaccine for Ages 12 to 15 Expected Soon

FDA on track to give approval by early next week, but could come even sooner
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 4, 2021 12:01 AM CDT
Updated May 4, 2021 12:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for youngsters ages 12 to 15 by next week, according to a federal official and a person familiar with the process, setting up shots for many before the beginning of the next school year. The announcement is set to come a month after the company found that its shot, which is already authorized for those age 16 and older, also provided protection for the younger group, the AP reports. The federal official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to preview the FDA's action, said the agency was expected to expand its emergency use authorization for Pfizer's two-dose vaccine by early next week, and perhaps even sooner. The person familiar with the process, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters, confirmed the timeline and added that it is expected that the FDA will approve Pfizer’s use by even younger children sometime this fall.

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The FDA action will be followed by a meeting of a federal vaccine advisory committee to discuss whether to recommend the shot for 12- to 15-year-olds. Shots could begin after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopts the committee’s recommendation. Those steps could be completed in a matter of days. Pfizer in late March released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 US volunteers ages 12 to 15, showing there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 18 among those given dummy shots. Kids had side effects similar to young adults, the company said. The main side effects are pain, fever, chills and fatigue, particularly after the second dose. The study will continue to track participants for two years for more information about long-term protection and safety.Results also are expected by the middle of this year from a US study of Moderna’s vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds, and the FDA already allowed both companies to begin US studies in children 11 and younger, working their way to as young as 6 months old.

(Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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