Pfizer has submitted its clinical trial data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 as it moves closer to seeking approval for expanded use of the shots.
The drugmaker and its partner, Germany’s BioNTech, said they expect to request emergency use authorization of their vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 “in the coming weeks.” The companies also plan to submit data to the European Medicines Agency and other regulators.
The two-shot Pfizer vaccine is currently available for those 12 and older. An estimated 100 million people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated with it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pfizer tested a lower dose of the shots in children. The drugmaker said last week that researchers found the vaccine developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels in children that were just as strong as those found in teenagers and young adults getting regular-strength doses.
Earlier this month, FDA chief Dr. Peter Marks told the AP that once Pfizer turns over its study results, his agency would evaluate the data “hopefully in a matter of weeks” to decide if the shots are safe and effective enough for younger kids.
Another U.S. vaccine maker, Moderna, also is studying its shots in elementary school-aged children. Results are expected later in the year.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is still pushing for those eligible for COVID-19 shots to get vaccinated.
Right now, about 230,000 people are getting their first shot per day — the slowest pace since January and a 31% decline since last week.
A new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the gap is closing in racial disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates:
The survey found those with the lowest vaccination rates were white, evangelical Christians, rural residents, Republicans and uninsured people under age 65.
The White House COVID-19 Response Team was asked during a briefing Tuesday if they think people who have not been vaccinated are persuadable.
“It might take a little bit longer, but we are absolutely laser-focused on reaching everyone and making sure people know that the vaccines do work and they are safe and effective. We’re all here as public health officials and physicians, not as politicians, and that is important to convey to everyone,” Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, chair of the COVID-19 Equity Task Force. “And we have the tools to help us safely get to the others side.”