The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advisory panel today voted to recommend the agency allow Pfizer to amend its Emergency Use Authorization for its COVID vaccine for children 5 through 11 years old, despite a host of objections from scientists and physicians.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) advisory committee today endorsed Pfizer’s COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, despite strong objections raised during the meeting by multiple scientists and physicians.
The vote passed with 17 supporting it and one abstention.
Before the shots can be rolled out, the FDA will have to formally authorize the vaccine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must also weigh in with its own recommendations — but the Biden administration’s announcement last week that it has already ordered 68 million doses of the pediatric vaccine suggests Pfizer’s request will sail through.
During today’s meeting, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Committee (VRBPAC) heard evidence from Pfizer and regulators, and listened to concerns from numerous experts.
According to the FDA website, as of Oct. 25, the agency had received 139,470 comments from the public prior to today’s meeting — a number federal officials described as strikingly high.
As he opened the meeting, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), said, “I want to acknowledge the fact that there are strong feelings that have clearly been expressed by members of the public both for and against” authorization.