Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccine data for children between the ages of 5 and 11 is expected to be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review by the end of September. 

In an interview at Research!America’s 2021 National Health Research Forum, Bourla added that clinical trial data for 6-month to 5-year-olds should be released at the end of October. 

“Then, it is up to the FDA to take their time, and then make a decision,” Bourla said.

The announcement comes at a time of heated debate on mask and vaccine requirements in public schools, businesses and government agencies. While President Joe Biden vows to ramp up vaccination efforts, some states work to ban all COVID safety mandates.

As coronavirus cases spike nationwide, there has been an urgent need to vaccinate children as schools reopen and the highly contagious Delta variant continues to spread. 

Last week, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci urged parents to “vaccinate the children” as unvaccinated young people are “vehicles of spread.” 

“We are almost overrun. We have a lot of children in hospitals now,” Fauci said at a lecture at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

“So, even though relatively speaking, compared to an adult they don't get as seriously ill, we have lost more children from SARS-CoV-2 than we ever lose to influenza,” he added.

Pfizer vaccines are currently eligible for individuals ages 12 and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are only eligible for adults. 

On Friday, the FDA said in a statement it is “working around the clock” to approve vaccines for those under 12, adding that they are “eager to see our children and grandchildren vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible” but they “have to let the science and data guide us.”