KEY POINTS

  • Pfizer and BioNTech submitted data to the FDA in late September
  • The vaccine doses for children would not be interchangeable with the doses distributed to adults
  • Case numbers in children remain high despite a national decline

Health officials in Alabama could begin administering COVID-19 vaccination to children between the ages of 5 and 11 this month, according to the health department. 

Dr. Karen Landers, an area health officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health, said they are now preparing graphics and pamphlets to give to healthcare providers once the Food and Drug Administration grants Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines emergency use authorization for use in children under 11.

“We certainly know children need a little more information and a little more discussion and a really different expectation whenever you are vaccinating children,” Dr. Landers told CBS 42

In late September, Pfizer and BioNTech submitted data to the FDA to clear its vaccine shots for use in children aged 5 to 11, who represent more than 28 million of the U.S. population. 

The agency has scheduled a meeting for Oct. 26 to discuss whether it would grant Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine authorization for use in children. A ruling is expected to come as early as the end of October.

A panel of advisers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also scheduled to meet on Nov. 2 and 3, people familiar with the planning told The New York Times

The news comes after the White House urged governors to begin preparing to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11 by early November. The vaccine doses for children would not be interchangeable with the doses distributed to adults. 

While COVID-19 cases have steadily declined nationwide, infections among children remain high. More than 6 million kids have tested positive for coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, with 1.1 million cases recorded between Sept. 3 and Sept. 30 alone, according to a state-level data report by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children also represented 24.8% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases reported in the week ending Oct. 7. 

Despite the high case numbers among children, only a small population of the younger population with COVID-19 have become severely ill or have died. Between Sept. 4 and Oct. 2, only 41 children under the age of 15 died of COVID-19, according to NBC News.

The Pfizer vaccine could soon be available for children as young as five in the United States The Pfizer vaccine could soon be available for children as young as five in the United States Photo: AFP / Patrick T. FALLON