Pfizer CEO: Vaccine data on ages 5-11 to be filed in days for FDA approval

Albert Bourla says a return to normal life could come within a year, but predicts that will include annual vaccinations

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speaks at a Pfizer manufacturing site, in Portage, Michigan, February 19, 2021. (Evan Vucci/AP)
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speaks at a Pfizer manufacturing site, in Portage, Michigan, February 19, 2021. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Pfizer will within days submit data on vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 against the coronavirus to US regulators for federal authorization, the company director said Sunday.

“It’s a question of days, not weeks,” CEO Albert Bourla said.

It would be a significant step toward starting vaccinations for younger children, especially with kids back in school in many countries and the Delta variant causing a spike in pediatric infections.

Pfizer said last week that its vaccine works for that age group and that it tested a much lower dose of the vaccine, which is already available for those who are 12 and older. The company said that after children age 5 to 11 got their second dose during testing, they developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults getting the regular-strength shots.

Bourla said that if the Food and Drug Administration approves the company’s application, “we will be ready with our manufacturing to provide this new formulation of the vaccine.”

The Pfizer chief also predicted that an end to the disruptions caused by the pandemic could be within sight, though he said annual inoculation shots would become the norm.

“I think we will be able to come back to normal life” within a year, he told ABC’s “This Week.”

“I don’t think that this means that variants will not be continuing coming,” he cautioned. “And I don’t think that this means that we should be able to live our lives without having vaccinations, basically.”

Following Pfizer’s announcement on the effectiveness of its vaccine in young children, a senior Israeli health official said the country will wait for FDA approval before giving COVID-19 vaccinations to children aged 5-11, as it did before it starting vaccinating those aged 12-16.

“We are waiting for a regulatory approval,” Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the ministry’s chief of public health services, told Army Radio.

Alroy-Preis said that the matter of vaccinating young children was different from the third booster vaccine shot, which Israel started administering before the FDA even discussed the matter, because “we saw from the data that the vaccine’s protection was waning.”

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