The CDC will still need to make the final call.
As the vaccine effort gradually works its way down the age bracket, distributors have found themselves with a growing surplus. Older people have long since been completed vaccinated, and younger adults between the ages of 20 and 49 are either in the process, have already gotten both shots, or decided to abstain. As such, there are now enough shots available that the effort can move on to the next major age bracket: teenagers.
In a briefing on Monday, the US Food and Drug Administration announced that they have officially expanded their emergency authorization of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to include teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15. Pfizer’s vaccine is the first one to reach this age range, with both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots currently cut off at age 18. The FDA reviewed Pfizer’s data of its teenager vaccine trials, which involved 2,260 12-to-15-year-olds, and found that their vaccine had a nearly perfect rate of efficacy and reception.
“It was a relatively straightforward decision,” said Dr. Peter Marks, the Director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
“FDA has done everything we can to ensure that the Covid-19 vaccines we have authorized have met the agency’s high standards for quality, safety and effectiveness. We know that every time an American, including members of our own families, receives a Covid-19 vaccine dose, you are putting your trust in us,” FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock told the briefing.
Before shots can start being administered to teens, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will need to make one final call. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will decide on Wednesday whether to officially recommend teens start getting vaccinated with the Pfizer shot. The Biden Administration has said that should Dr. Walensky give the green light, they will immediately begin distributing shots through federal programs and local family doctors.