Millions of Kids’ Covid Vaccines Shipped Ahead of CDC Clearance
(Bloomberg) -- An estimated 15 million doses of kids’ vaccines will arrive at thousands of sites across the U.S. over the next week as the White House prepares for widespread inoculations if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Friday authorization of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 was a “critical operational milestone” that allowed doses to start shipping, said Jeff Zients, who is President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 response coordinator.
A CDC advisory committee is meeting Tuesday and Wednesday to weigh whether to allow the shots. If it does, the CDC director has the final say on whether shots should be given to children.
The U.S. has ordered enough vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech for all 28 million kids in that age range, Zients said. Several million doses have shipped already to prepare for any authorization, and 15 million shots will arrive at pediatricians’ offices and other sites over the next week, Zients said at a briefing on Monday. The kids’ vaccination effort “will be fully up and running” next week, Zients said.
“While vaccinations may start later this week, the program will still be coming up to its full strength, with millions more doses packed, shipped and delivered, and thousands of additional sites coming online each day,” Zients said.
The kids’ vaccine is one-third of the dose given to those 12 and older, requiring a different distribution channel. The two-shot regimen will still be given three weeks apart.
Moderna Inc., which makes the other U.S.-authorized mRNA vaccine, has said it’s been told regulators will take more time before clearing use in those 12 to 17. Both Zients and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky downplayed the impact of the delay.
“There’s plenty of supply of Pfizer vaccine, and we look forward to parents having the opportunity to vaccinate their kids,” Zients said.
About 27% of parents said they would vaccinate their children right away once a shot for 5 to 11-year-olds becomes available, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released last week. An additional third said they want to wait and see how it works and another 30% said they definitely wouldn’t vaccinate their kids.
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