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Pfizer asked the FDA on Thursday to expand emergency use authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.
The request comes after the drugmaker submitted clinical trial data to the FDA on Sept. 28. Pfizer said the study of 2,268 children showed the vaccine was safe and produced a robust immune response.
Participants in the studies received a lower dose of the vaccine, 10 micrograms. Their response 2 weeks after a second dose was reportedly equal to the immune protection in a control group of 16- to 25-year-olds who received the fully approved 30-microgram doses.
Currently, the Pfizer EUA applies to 12- to 15-year-olds and people eligible for a Pfizer booster shot. The drugmaker received full FDA approval for the vaccine for Americans 16 years and older in August.
The filing for authorization in 5- to 11-year-olds comes as overall cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. continue to decline. The decrease includes a drop in new cases in children for the fourth consecutive week, according to analysis of data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
The next step is an FDA decision on whether to expand the current emergency use authorization (EUA) for teenagers to the younger age group.
Timing of any official word from the agency is unknown. But possibly in anticipation of today’s filing, the FDA already scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee for Oct. 25.
Twitter: @pfizer, Oct. 7, 2021.
Damian McNamara is a staff journalist based in Miami. He covers a wide range of medical specialties, including infectious diseases, gastroenterology and neurology. Follow Damian on Twitter: @MedReporter.