WASHINGTON, Oct 20 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Wednesday will outline its plan to vaccinate millions of kids ages 5 to 11 as soon as the COVID-19 shot is approved for younger children in coming weeks ahead of the holiday season, NBC News reported.
It is working to set up vaccination clinics in partnership with 100 to 200 children’s hospitals nationwide, it reported.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s White House COVID-19 response team is scheduled to hold a news conference at 8:45 a.m. (1345 GMT).
Food and Drug Administration officials are reviewing Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech SE’s application seeking approval of its 2-dose vaccine for younger children, with its panel of outside advisers scheduled to weigh in on Oct. 26. The FDA typically follows the advice of its panel but is not required to do so.
Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will next weigh in on recommendations for the vaccine at a Nov. 2 and 3 meeting, which its director will use in making her own recommendation.
Once approved, roughly 28 million more children in the United States would be eligible to receive what would be the first U.S.-approved vaccine to ward off the novel coronavirus in younger kids. The Pfizer/BioNTech shot is already approved for those ages 12-17, and the companies are still studying it for those younger than 5.
“We have to be prepared to ensure that we can get vaccines to families as soon as the FDA and the CDC issue their decision,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told NBC News’ “Today” program.
Murthy said the administration was working to make sure there was enough supply and locations to inoculate kids ages 5 to 11.
The administration is laying the groundwork to ease distribution, including pre-packaging the smaller pediatric vials and is also looking to doctors offices and pharmacies along with children’s hospitals.
While children have a lower rate of death from COVID-19, many still face illness and long-term symptoms that are still being studied. Many adults who have been hesitant or opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine, and even some who did not oppose the vaccine for themselves, are expected to resist giving the shot to their children.
Reporting by Susan Heavey, Editing by Nick Zieminski
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