Pfizer and BioNTech said on Thursday that they would seek emergency authorization from the FDA for their COVID-19 vaccine for 5 to 11-year-olds. If approved, the vaccine would be the first to offer protection from COVID-19 to roughly 28 million children.
The FDA has said that approval could come soon after the relevant data has been submitted. The agency has scheduled a meeting for October 26 to go over the companies’ proposal, raising the possibility that the vaccines could roll out in November.
In September, Pfizer released data showing that its vaccines, which are administered in smaller quantities for children than for adults, produced strong immune responses and no serious side effects. Still, surveys have shown that many parents are wary about the prospect of vaccinating their kids.
Though COVID poses a far smaller risk to children than it does older populations — 125 children aged 5 to 11 have died of the virus since the beginning of the pandemic — there has been a recent surge in pediatric hospitalizations across the country as the Delta variant swept through and schools reopened.