COVID vaccines may be available for children ages 5 to 11 "within the first week or two of November," according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The nation's leading infectious disease expert, 80, said on Sunday's episode of This Week With George Stephanopoulos that "it's entirely possible, if not very likely" that vaccines will be made accessible for the age group within the next two or three weeks.
"You never want to get ahead of the FDA and their regulatory decisions, nor do you want to get ahead of the CDC and their advisers on what the recommended would be," Fauci told host George Stephanopoulos, 60. "But if you look at the data that's been made public and announced by the company, the data look good as to the efficacy and the safety."
Pfizer has reported that its COVID-19 vaccine prevents any symptoms of the virus 90.7% of the time in patients ages 5 to 11. The White House has already committed to making the vaccine available, once approved, at more than 25,000 pediatrician offices and primary care facilities and more than 100 children's hospitals as well as pharmacies and schools.
The FDA and its advisory committee will meet on Oct. 26 before handing over their regulatory decision to the CDC, Fauci said, which will likely be around Nov. 2 or 3.
"So, if all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval and the recommendation from the CDC, it's entirely possible, if not very likely, that vaccines will be available for children from 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November," he added.
In August, Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine became the first to be granted full approval by the Food and Drug Administration for those ages 16 and up. The vaccine remains under emergency use approval for kids aged 12 to 15.
"While this and other vaccines have met the FDA's rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product," said acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a statement following the Pfizer vaccine's approval.
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In September, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) passed a mandate requiring students aged 12 and older to be fully vaccinated in order to attend in-person classes. Those on the cusp will be required to get their first dose within 30 days after their 12th birthday.
As of Oct. 23, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 57.4% of the United States' population (190.4 million people) is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 66.3% (220.2 million people) have received at least one dose.
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