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White House calls on pediatricians to deploy Covid vaccine for children as early as next month

Bridgette Melo, 5, prepares for her inoculation with one of two reduced 10 ug doses of Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine during a trial at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, September 28, 2021 in a still image of a video.

Shawn Rocco | Duke University | via Reuters

The U.S. government will rely heavily on pediatricians and family physicians in its rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine to children aged 5 to 11, starting next month, the coronavirus response coordinator said on Wednesday. the White House, Jeff Zients.

The White House has asked governors to enroll pediatricians and other providers in immunization programs so they can begin giving injections as soon as doses are cleared by U.S. regulators for use in young children, Zients told reporters.

Federal health officials have also called on states to plan for the implementation of awareness and education campaigns, Zients said, and to ensure that Covid vaccination sites are available in areas of “high vulnerability. social ”and in rural areas.

“If this is cleared by the FDA and the CDC, we’ll be ready,” Zients said during a press briefing on the pandemic. “We have the supply. I want to stress that it is a different supply; the dose for children is a different dose than for adults.”

Parents say they can’t wait to get their kids vaccinated as kids start the new school year with the delta variant still booming across America. The number of new cases of Covid in children remains unusually high, with more than 750,000 child cases added in the past four weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For the week ending Oct. 7, children made up 24.8% of reported weekly Covid cases, even though they make up about 22% of the U.S. population, according to the group. Infections in children represent 16.3% of all Covid cases since the start of the pandemic, the academy said.

Pfizer last Thursday asked the Food and Drug Administration to clear its Covid vaccine with BioNTech for children aged 5 to 11.

The company submitted data showing that a two-dose diet of 10 micrograms – one-third of the dose used for adults and children 12 years and older – is safe and generates a strong immune response in a clinical trial on young children. He said the injections were well tolerated and produced an immune response and side effects comparable to those seen in a study in people aged 16 to 25.

Vaccinations for young children could begin in early November, pending a favorable review from regulatory authorities, US surgeon general Vivek Murthy said on Wednesday.

A key FDA vaccine advisory committee is set to meet on October 26 to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine data on children, followed by a meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory group on November 2. If all goes well, the doses could be distributed in the days following the November meeting, he told reporters.