Could vaccines for kids aged 5-11 start by Thanksgiving? "It's certainly reasonable," Gottlieb says
Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday on "Face the Nation" that it is "certainly reasonable" to start seeing children aged 5-11 fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Thanksgiving.
The FDA's advisory committee is slated to discuss the authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11 on October 26, shortly after that, the CDC's committee will meet on November 2 and 3 to make the final decision on who should be eligible for the vaccine, Gottlieb said.
"Assuming both of those events go well, and you get a positive recommendation out of both the FDA and CDC, this should be available almost immediately after the CDC makes a final recommendation and be available in pharmacies and perhaps pediatricians offices as well," Gottlieb said.
Gottlieb, who also sits on the board of Pfizer, said the pharmaceutical company plans to ship the vaccine dedicated to children in both smaller trays and vials with the hope of making it more accessible to pediatric practices
On Thursday, Pfizer became the first of the vaccine makers to ask the U.S. government to allow use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11.
According to a new CBS poll released Sunday, 37% of parents say they will vaccinate their 5-to-11-year-olds right away, and a quarter of parents say they will wait and see. Another 35% said they would not get their kids vaccinated.
Gottlieb said he is encouraged by the poll numbers, citing the benefits of getting young children vaccinated while also acknowledging that many parents still have questions about vaccination.
"There's a lot of parents that still have a lot of questions around vaccination. I think for them, they should have a conversation with their pediatrician to try to get comfortable with the idea of vaccinating kids," said Gottlieb. "We now have the opportunity by the availability of this vaccine to more fully vanquish this virus and protect a broader swath of the population in terms of what CDC is likely to do."
Gottlieb said "there's a lot of information available" for parents, and it "certainly makes me confident about vaccinating my kids." He urged parents to have a discussion with their pediatrician about the pros and cons of vaccination.
For children younger than five, Gottlieb said clinical trials for vaccine approval could begin in early 2022.
"Previously, we had talked about trying to have that data available before the end of this year, which could have prompted an authorization, perhaps by the end of the year, at least in kids ages two to four," Gottlieb said. "I think it's more likely that it slips into the first quarter of next year, at the very least, but not too far into next year."
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