The Food and Drug Administration said Sunday (Jun 12) that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to be safe for children under 5 years old, the only age group not yet eligible for vaccination in the U.S.
The agency posted a similar analysis last week of Moderna’s vaccine for children under the age of 6.
The FDA published its review ahead of a Wednesday meeting in which it will ask an independent panel of vaccine experts to debate the data from both companies prior to voting, although the agency is not required to make a decision based on the group’s recommendations.
Then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will host its own panel of experts to debate which toddlers need COVID-19 vaccinations.
Vaccinations could begin as soon as next week if regulators clear shots by one or both drug manufacturing companies.
Despite the potential FDA authorization for the vaccines, demand for the shots is expected to be fairly low. A recent survey suggests only 1 in 5 parents of young children would have their kids receive the vaccine right away. Vaccines have been available for older U.S. children since November, but less than a third of kids ages 5 to 11 have been administered the two recommended doses, government data shows.