The Food and Drug Administration is ready to authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds, with the move due to come next week, according to a report.
The authorization would allow millions of young Americans to be inoculated against the virus, greatly expanding the reach of the US campaign to vaccinate more residents, according to the report by the New York Times, which cited “federal officials familiar with the agency’s plans.”
“We can assure the public that we are working to review this request as quickly as possible,” FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Caccomo told the outlet.
Currently, those age 16 and older are eligible for the vaccine in the US.
Pfizer reported in recent weeks that adolescents who received the vaccine during clinical trials showed signs of “significant” protection from the virus, the Times said.
Expanding the pool of eligible vaccine recipients is also expected to increase the likelihood of heard immunity.
Meanwhile, drug manufacturer Moderna said results of its own clinical trials on children 12 to 17 are expected soon, followed by results for kids 6 months to 12 years old in the second half of this year.
However, the move is not without controversy — with much of the world still struggling to inoculate more vulnerable adults, critics question using some of the abundant US supply on children who are deemed low risk for the virus.
“I do think we need to have a national and global conversation about the ethics of our vaccinating kids who are low risk for serious complications from the virus when there aren’t enough vaccines in the world to protect high-risk adults from dying,” Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist with Johns Hopkins University, told the Times.