CDC director says agencies are working “with urgency” on Covid-19 vaccine for younger children

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday that her agency is working urgently on a Covid-19 vaccine for younger children, with the hope that younger children will be vaccinated by the end of the year.

“We’re waiting for the companies to submit the data to the FDA, we’re anticipating that will happen in the fall,” she told NBC’s Today Show.  

“We will look at that data from the FDA, from the CDC, with the urgency that we all feel for getting our kids vaccinated and we’re hoping by the end of the year,” she added.

There isn’t a specific timeline for when the vaccine for younger children will be available, and some experts have suggested it could be well before the end of the year.

On Sunday, former US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner and current Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CBS’s Face the Nation that the company expects to have data available on children ages 5 to 11 by the end of September, and the vaccine could be available in this age group by Halloween. Moderna is also testing vaccines in younger children, and is expected to submit its data in the coming months.

FDA’s Dr. Janet Woodcock and Dr. Peter Marks said in a statement on Friday that the agency will carefully review data for a vaccine for people ages 5 to 11 once it’s available and is “prepared to complete its review as quickly as possible, likely in a matter of weeks rather than months.”

However, they noted, “the agency’s ability to review these submissions rapidly will depend in part on the quality and timeliness of the submissions by manufacturers.” 

Answering a question from a MST Magnet Elementary School student in Richardson, Texas, Walensky said the agency is working “with urgency” toward a vaccine in children. 

“We are working with urgency to make sure that that vaccine, when it comes to you is going to be safe, it’s going to be effective, it’s going to follow the science and we’re really hopeful that you will have that vaccine by the end of the year.” 

Walensky said she anticipates there will be a two-shot vaccine regimen for children but noted that agencies are still looking at a third dose in adults.

“We’ll see where the science takes us,” she said. 

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