Parents and caregivers may have to wait until the end of 2021 before a COVID-19 vaccine is fully approved for young children ages 5 to 11. The news comes from Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.
Collins said both Pfizer and Moderna are still collecting trial data, trying to understand — among other things — whether young children should receive a smaller vaccine dose than what has already been approved for adults.
Pfizer could submit its data to the Food and Drug Administration for review by the end of September, Collins said. But he added, "I've got to be honest, I don't see the approval for kids — 5 to 11 — coming much before the end of 2021."
While full FDA approval is likely several months away, Pfizer's vaccine could be cleared for emergency use earlier, possibly in October, after the submission of its trial data.
Collins' remarks come one day after the FDA granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older. The vaccine remains available for kids between the ages of 12 and 15 through the current emergency use authorization.