WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday announced its plan to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11 ahead of the FDA’s expected emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children in that age range.
The administration has procured enough vaccine for 28 million children in the age group, which would be given by more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care providers, the White House said. The Department of Health and Human Services would also team up with the Children’s Hospital Association to set up at least 100 vaccination clinics to administer the shots.
In addition, tens of thousands of pharmacies would offer the vaccine, and the administration would work to make the shots available at hundreds of schools and community health centers.
The White House told governors this month to expect to begin vaccinations for the 5-to-11 age group early next month. The administration bought 65 million pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, enough to give shots to the estimated 28 million children in that age range who would be eligible if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes its use.
An FDA advisory committee is expected to meet next week to discuss the pharmaceutical companies' request to authorize the use of their vaccine for those children.
The administration said this month that it told providers that the vaccine would be delivered to thousands of sites within a week of FDA authorization.
In September, Pfizer said that its two-dose Covid vaccine was shown to be safe in the trial for the 5-to-11 age group and that it provided a "well tolerated" and "robust" antibody response.
Elementary school-age children have been at risk of contracting Covid because many students have returned to in-person learning at school this year. The Pfizer vaccine has been available for people ages 12 and older since May.