“It’s a matter of days, not weeks,” Pfizer chief executive officer Albert Bourla told ABC News on Sunday of when the company would submit data on children aged 5 to 11. to the FDA for review.
Currently, Covid-19 vaccines are only approved for children 12 years of age and older, which has raised concern among health experts as cases in children increase, school years begin and the More transmissible Delta variant spreads.
Once Pfizer / BioNTech’s data is available, it will have to go through two committees, one for the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and one for the CDC, CNN medical analyst Dr Johnathan said on Sunday. Reiner. If the data arrives this week, it will likely be in committee by the end of October, he added.
And there’s a lot of data to look at, he said.
“This is a vaccine for children, so getting the right dose – in terms of effectiveness and side effects – is crucial,” Reiner said.
But even when a vaccine becomes available, there is a difficult task ahead of getting children immunized. Less than half of American teens are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to a CNN analysis of CDC data.
In response, authorities need to do a better job educating the public about the importance of vaccination for the health of their children and their families as a whole, Reiner said.
“If you want kids in school, the best way to keep them in school is to prevent them from catching Covid,” he said.
“We know how to keep them safe,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CBS on Sunday. “When we don’t use the right mitigation measures, they’re more likely to have outbreaks.”
Former FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb said he encourages parents to immunize their children when they can.
“It’s a dangerous pathogen,” Gottlieb told CNN. “I wouldn’t be so cavalier about this virus, we know this virus has long-term consequences in a lot of people who get it, including children.”
Current surge is expected to subside by Thanksgiving, says Gottlieb
Gottlieb predicted on Sunday that the current outbreak of coronavirus spread would likely worsen in parts of the country and then die out by Thanksgiving.
“I think you’ll see a wave of infection sweeping through the northeast as the kids go back to school, the weather is getting cold and people are moving inside,” Gottlieb told CNN’s Pamela Brown.
The virus won’t go away, Gottlieb said, but I hope it reaches more manageable levels – which he estimates at around 20,000 cases per day.
According to the CDC, the current seven-day average for new cases in the United States is more than 114,000 new cases per day.
The drop in cases will likely come from most people who gain immunity to the virus, Gottlieb said.
“Some people will get vaccinated; others will challenge their immunity with no choice but to contract the infection,” Gottlieb said. “People who choose not to be vaccinated, they will be vulnerable to infection from this Delta Wave.”
As the United States enters flu season, Gottlieb said demand for testing will increase as people and their doctors attempt to determine whether their flu-like symptoms are due to Covid-19 or the flu. .
“This is why it is so important to also put diagnostic tests in the hands of consumers and doctors’ offices, things like where people can test at home will make the difference between Covid and others. respiratory infections, especially as the flu resumes. “said Gottlieb.
But even if Covid-19 cases fall before Thanksgiving, health experts are bracing for a tough winter ahead. It is not yet clear what this year’s flu season has in store for us, but it could add further stress to an already-squeezed healthcare system.
Last year’s flu count was low, which health experts said could mean seasons ahead could be worse, as there has been little build-up of immunity.
“We’re in a huge flu season at one point,” Gottlieb said on Sunday.
Recommend reminder to frontline workers as ‘scientific rapprochement’, says CDC director
“And because of that close call, and because of all the evidence we looked at at the FDA and CDC, I thought it was appropriate that these people were eligible for the recalls,” Walensky told CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday.
“So who are these people? People who live and work in high risk environments. This includes people living in homeless shelters, people living in group homes, people in prison. healthcare workers, our teachers, our grocers, our public transport workers, ”Walensky said.
Although CDC vaccine advisers voted against recommending booster doses for people at high risk of infection because of their work or living conditions, Walensky accepted FDA clearance, including These persons.
The recommendation is currently not aimed at the general population, but there is little fear of causing dangerous side effects by adding this third dose, Walensky said.
“We have an extraordinary amount of security data,” she said.
CNN’s Jacqueline Howard, Maggie Fox and Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.