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CDC Panel to Review Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine for Use in Children Ages 12 to 15

May 11, 2021

The advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will meet tomorrow to discuss the potential approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 and older.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents between 12 and 15 years of age. The vaccine previously had been authorized for people 16 and older. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is expected to review the available data on Wednesday and provide a recommendation.

“With science guiding our evaluation and decision-making process, the FDA can assure the public and medical community that the available data meet our rigorous standards to support the emergency use of this vaccine in the adolescent population 12 years of age and older,” said Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

In a statement, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) applauded the FDA for its review and said it was awaiting the CDC panel’s recommendations. The DOH has alerted the state’s vaccine providers to be ready for vaccination requests for people in this age group later this week and recommends that vaccine providers follow their current policy for vaccinations of minors.

“Once all of the approvals are in place Pennsylvania vaccine providers will be ready to begin vaccinating these young people to add them to the more than 5.7 million Pennsylvanians who have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine so far,” Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam said in a statement.

During March and April 2021, about 1.5 million COVID-19 cases were reported in individuals between 11 and 17, according to the CDC. Children and adolescents generally have milder COVID-19 disease course as compared to adults, federal officials said.

“Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD.

HAP will continue to monitor the federal review of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and provide updates to members. HAP encourages everyone who is eligible to make an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The approved vaccines are safe and effective and provide outstanding protection for yourself and the people you love in your community.

For more information, contact Robert Shipp III, PhD, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, HAP’s vice president, population health and clinical affairs.