SEATTLE, WA – MAY 13: Gavin Smits, 12, receives a first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Harborview Medical Center on May 13, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. The hospital began vaccinating children aged 12-15 following approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — Parents hoping to vaccinate their young children against COVID-19 will need to be patient, Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned Wednesday.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said while he expects the vaccine regimen for children under 5 will be three doses, he couldn’t provide a timeline on when the federal government would approve emergency use of those vaccines.
“I don’t think we can predict when we will see an [emergency use authorization] with that because the company is still putting the data before the FDA,” Fauci said, referring to the Food and Drug Administration.
Fauci said the pace is an indication that the system works, since the FDA is being “scrupulous” in making sure “that when these vaccines become available for children at those ages that we can be certain that they will be safe and they will be effective.”
Pfizer and BioNTech have been testing a vaccine for young children for months, but Fauci said Wednesday that the original data of trial participants between 2 and 4 didn’t reach the level of protection that experts were looking for, even though doses for children between six months old and 2 “worked well.”
The FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines for children 5 to 11 in October under an emergency use authorization, but parents of children younger than that have been stuck in limbo ever since.
Fauci said Wednesday that he wasn’t involved in the FDA’s approval process or privy to the data for the ongoing process.
“Bottom line – I can’t give you a timetable on that,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
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