Young children likely won’t start receiving COVID-19 jabs until the week of Nov. 8 — even if regulators officially approve Pfizer’s vaccine this week for kids ages 5 to 11, the White House said Monday.
Jeff Zients, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, said that only a limited number of the kid-size vaccines will be immediately available if a panel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives the final green light as expected this week.
“While vaccinations may start later this week, the program will still be ramping up to its full strength with millions more doses packed, shipped and delivered, and thousands of additional sites coming online each day,” Zients said at a COVID-19 task force briefing.
“So, starting the week of November 8, the kids’ vaccination program will be fully up and running. Parents will be able to schedule appointments at convenient sites they know and trust to get their kids vaccinated and the number of sites will continue to increase throughout the month as more vaccines sites open their doors and administer vaccines.”
Zients insisted that the administration has been preparing to roll out the kid-size doses — just a third of the amount given to teens and adults.
He said that “several million doses are already en route to sites around the country.”
“And across the next week or so, 15 million or so doses will be around the country at convenient and trusted sites,” he said.
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday cleared the doses for the age group, making this week’s CDC meeting the final regulatory hurdle.
If the shots are authorized, up to 28 million more children could be eligible for vaccinations.
The potential rollout comes as more eligible Americans are making appointments to receive COVID-19 booster shots.
Over the last two days, more than 2 million vaccinated people received an extra dose, according to the CDC.
White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday he anticipates all Americans will be eligible for a booster.
“It will be very likely that everyone will be able to get a boost within a reasonable time,” said Fauci, who presented data from Israel that showed an extra dose significantly increased antibodies.
“As we said very often, we want to stay ahead of the virus and that’s one of the reasons why I showed you the data from Israel. But I think in due time, we will have equity so that people will be able to get vaccine in a boosted situation as needed.”