The White House said the United States is ready to start vaccinating children ages 5 to 11 against COVID-19 next month, meaning another 28 million Americans will be vaccinated.
“Our planning efforts mean we will be ready to start vaccinating in the days following the final recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control,” the White House said.
Earlier this month, drugmaker Pfizer applied for a vaccination permit in this age group, and the issue will be discussed by two expert groups.
The first, convened by the Food and Drug Administration, will meet next week, and the second, convened by the Centers for Disease Control, will meet on November 2-3, with the agency expected to make its recommendation shortly thereafter.
During a clinical trial, children in the age group 5-11 years received a two-dose regimen of 10 micrograms, compared with 30 micrograms for older age groups. Doses are given at intervals of 21 days.
The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine has received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration for people over the age of 16, and in May it was approved for emergency use in children aged 12 to 15.
Experts say that vaccinating children is essential to achieving the population’s immunity against the disease.
Although younger children are less likely to develop severe cases, they can still become ill and transmit the virus to the general population.
Confidence in vaccines in the United States has risen in recent months.