WASHINGTON D.C. — The White House has rolled out detailed plans for the expected authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children.
Federal regulators will meet over the next two weeks to weigh the benefits of giving shots to children aged 5 to 11.
Within hours of the formal approval, which is expected after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory meeting scheduled for Nov. 2-3, doses will begin shipping to providers across the country, including smaller needles needed for injecting young kids. The vaccines are expected to be ready to administer to young children within days of the formal approval.
The Biden administration said the nationwide campaign to extend the protection of vaccination to the school-going cohort will not look like the start of the vaccine rollout nearly a year ago, when lack of doses caused a wait for many Americans.
The country now has ample suppliers of the Pfizer vaccine to administer to roughly 28 million kids, who will soon be eligible.
More than 25,000 pediatricians and primary care physicians have already agreed to administer COVID-19 vaccines to children, in addition to the tens of thousands of retail pharmacies that are already administering the vaccine to adults.
Hundreds of school and community-based clinics will also be funded and supported by FEMA to help speed up the distribution of the vaccines.
The White House is also preparing a stepped-up campaign to educate parents and kids about the safety of the vaccines, as the administration believes trusted messengers like educators, doctors and community leaders will be vital to encouraging vaccines.
Despite children being at lower risk for having serious side effects from COVID-19, officials said that vaccination dramatically reduces the chances and will reduce the spread.
The administration said that children could get their first dose within a couple weeks of the expected approval and be fully vaccinated by Christmas.
The U.S. has purchased 65 million doses of the Pfizer pediatric shot that is expected to be one-third the dosage for adults and adolescents. They will be shipped in smaller packages of about 100 doses each so that more providers can deliver them and they can be stored for up to 10 weeks at standard refrigeration temperatures.
About 66 percent of the total population of Americans aged 12 and older have received a COVID-19 shot and nearly 190 million people are fully vaccinated.