This is about to get ugly.
A key Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Tuesday recommended a lower dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, a critical step in getting some 28 million more kids in the U.S. protected against the virus as the delta variant spreads.
The endorsement by the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will now be considered by the FDA, which could issue a final decision within days. The vote was nearly unanimous, with 17 members backing it and one abstention.
The agency doesn’t always follow the advice of its independent committee, but it often does. Next week, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory group is expected to make its own recommendation. If it issues an endorsement and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signs off, shots for young kids could begin immediately.
The Biden administration said it plans to distribute the doses as soon as it’s authorized by the FDA and CDC, which is expected to come early next month. The administration said it’s procured enough vaccine to inoculate all 28 million 5- to 11-year-olds in the U.S., and will distribute it in smaller dosing and with smaller needles to make it easier for pediatricians and pharmacists to administer to kids.