It looks like children ages 5 to 11 in US may be able to receive a COVID vaccination by Halloween. Pfizer on Monday reported that its vaccine appears to be safe and effective at a lower dose for children, reports the Washington Post. The company and partner BioNTech will submit its data for FDA review by the end of September, and that review is expected to take up to a month. Pfizer tested a dose about one-third as potent as the shot given to adults and found that it stimulated an antibody response, per the AP. The company says side effects were relatively minor, including chills and fever, and they were similar to those in a comparison group ages 16 to 25. While vaccines are currently available to those ages 12 and up, this would be the first one for young children.
“It’s not a lot to go on, but what we do have to go on looks great,” Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, tells STAT News. “A lower dose of this vaccine in children appears as good as the higher dose in older children and adults.” Neuzil was not involved in the study. Adults receive 30-micogram doses of the vaccine in each of their two shots, while the 2,268 children in the study received 10-microgram doses. Most countries have held off vaccinating young children, though Cuba is giving shots to kids as young as 2 with home-grown vaccines and China is giving them to recipients as young as 3. (Read more COVID-19 stories.)