The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the administration of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is the only one that has already been approved for children ages 12 and up. Both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for adults only, ages 18 and up.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met Wednesday with Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz and officials from the Healthy Ministry on the issue.
Israel is expected to approve COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 to 11 after the FDA completes its authorization.
An FDA advisory panel approved a pediatric dose of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Tuesday so far. The recommendation now goes to the FDA itself.
If all goes well and the FDA approves the shot, the next step is consideration by an advisory panel at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), set to take place on November 2.
If the CDC advisory panel approves, it will send its recommendation to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky for final approval.
Walensky said on NBC’s Meet the Press this past Sunday that if approved, the vaccine will be available almost immediately.
“The administration is working on the operations and logistics,” she said. “So as soon as we have both the FDA authorization and the CDC recommendations, there will be vaccine out there; so children can start rolling up their sleeves.”
If all moves along as anticipated, the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine could become available to younger children sometime in the first half of November. Immunization for the 5- to 11-year-old set involves two shots, each of which equals approximately one-third of the total adult dose.