Full-strength Pfizer can be used by anyone under 12 (Paul Hennessy/Getty)
Small doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine appear to be safe and approximately 91 percent effective in preventing accidental infections in children aged 5 to 11, according to details of the study released today, Friday, as the United States considers opening vaccinations for that age group. .
Dosing could start in early November – with the first children fully protected by Christmas – if regulators give the go-ahead.
Details of the Pfizer study have been published online. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to publish its independent review of the company’s safety and efficacy data later in the day.
FDA advisors will discuss the evidence publicly, next week. If the administration eventually allows the injections, the CDC will make the final decision about who should receive them.
Full-strength Pfizer doses are already allowed for anyone age 12 or older, but pediatricians and many parents are eagerly waiting to protect young children to stop the rising infection of the highly contagious delta variant and help keep kids in school.
More than 25,000 pediatricians and primary care providers have already registered to give injections to children.
The Biden administration has bought enough pediatric doses — in special orange vials to distinguish them from the adult vaccine — for nearly 28 million children aged 5 to 11. If the vaccine is approved, millions of doses will be immediately shipped across the country, along with baby-sized needles.
A Pfizer study followed 2,268 children in that age group who received two injections three weeks apart from either the placebo or the low-dose vaccine.