Pfizer has asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11, the company and BioNTech announced Thursday. The decision could "help protect more than 28 million people in the United States," writes The New York Times.
If cleared, young children would receive two doses of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks apart — similar to adolescents and adults but at a lower dosage, writes The Wall Street Journal. Experts say they expect the shots to be administered at some schools, pediatrician offices, and certain pharmacies.
Pfizer's Thursday request could mean the vaccines aren't available until November, if the FDA does in fact spend as much time reviewing the data for the 5-to-11-year-old age group as it did for 12-to-15-year-olds, notes CNBC.
Still, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Face The Nation that approval by Halloween, a timeline he had originally backed, is "still possible."
"Yeah, I think [vaccines for young kids by Halloween is] still possible," said Gottlieb. "The FDA has said that the review is going to be a matter of weeks, not months," which Gottlieb interprets to mean possibly a four-week or six-week timeline — the former of which would put the country right at Halloween; although, "if it slips a little, it could be mid-November," he said.