A student receives her first Pfizer Biontech COVID vaccine at Ridley High School on May 3, 2021 as part of a clinic for students ages 16-18.
Pete Bannan | MediaNews Group | Daily times via Getty Images
A key CDC advisory body is due to vote on Wednesday on whether to recommend the use of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15.
The widely awaited approval from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is the final step before US officials put their thumbs up on states to allow millions of teenagers to be vaccinated as early as Thursday.
Allowing teenagers to get the shots will accelerate the nation’s efforts to fight infection and return to some form of normalcy, say public health officials and infectious disease experts. It also allows states to vaccinate middle school students before summer camps start and school starts in the fall.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention Panel meeting will take place two days after the Food and Drug Administration announced that it would approve Pfizer and BioNTech’s application to allow young teenagers to be vaccinated in an emergency. The vaccine is already approved for use in people aged 16 and over. It’s given in two doses three weeks apart in teenagers, the same regimen for 16 years and older, according to the FDA.
Here’s what to expect.
When do you vote?
According to a draft agenda, the meeting will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The vote usually takes place towards the end.
Prior to voting, medical experts will evaluate clinical trial data from Pfizer and BioNTech and provide their views on the vaccine, including whether the benefits outweigh the risks for use in adolescents. The companies announced in late March that the vaccine was 100% effective in a clinical study involving more than 2,000 adolescents. The side effects were generally consistent with those seen in adults, they added.
What happens next?
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told reporters Monday he expected the first shots for young teenagers to be given as early as Thursday until the panel is approved and approved by the CDC director.
The distribution of vaccines will be different across the US, officials told reporters, as states have different regulations about who can give shots to younger age groups. The Biden government has announced plans to send vaccines directly to pediatrician offices and make doses available in other locations such as community centers.
Is the Vaccine Safe?
In a statement on Monday, incumbent FDA commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock told parents that the agency “did a rigorous and thorough review of all available data” before clearing it for use on younger teenagers.
The FDA said the side effects in adolescents were consistent with those reported in clinical trial participants aged 16 and over. It was suggested that the vaccine should not be given to anyone who has had a history of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
The most commonly reported side effects, according to the FDA, were pain at the injection site, joints and muscles, fatigue, headache, chills, and fever. With the exception of pain at the injection site, more teens reported side effects after the second dose than after the first, the agency said. The side effects usually lasted one to three days.
When do younger children get access?
Studies are currently being carried out to test Covid vaccines in children under the age of 12. However, researchers believe these studies will take longer as they gradually examine younger age groups and experiment with lower doses after the vaccines are shown to be safe in older children.
FDA approval for children under the age of 12 could come in the second half of this year. In a presentation to coincide with the company’s earnings release on May 4th, Pfizer expects to file for approval of its toddler vaccine in September and toddler vaccine in November.
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccines are approved for people aged 18 and over, are also testing their recordings in younger age groups.
Do children need recordings for school and activities?
Possibly. For example, schools can legally require that students be vaccinated, according to Dorit Reiss, a law professor at UC Hastings College of Law.
Several colleges and universities have already stated that they need Covid vaccinations for students returning in the fall. It is possible that vaccinations are required to participate in after-school activities such as sports, arts, and other personal activities after school.
The federal government is unlikely to prescribe vaccines for children or other groups, public health experts say.
The CDC has previously said schools can safely reopen without vaccinating teachers or students. Biden’s government has announced it will invest $ 10 billion in Covid testing for schools to accelerate the return to one-to-one tuition across the country this fall.