Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are meeting Wednesday to discuss the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and vote on extending its use to persons 12 to 15 years old, the final step before doses reach the age group.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ endorsement will likely come around 5 p.m., clearing the way for the first shots to be administered as soon as Thursday after the Food and Drug Administration authorized them for emergency use in adolescents on Monday.
Biden administration officials are pleading with parents to bring their kids forward to be vaccinated, saying it will help the U.S. reach immunity levels that can wrangle down the virus and offer high schools a normal year this fall.
Pfizer’s vaccine was first approved for ages 16 and up in December.
Another messenger-RNA option, from Moderna, and a one-shot, adenovirus-vector version from Johnson & Johnson are approved for ages 18 and up.
ACIP will receive an update Wednesday on rare blood clotting events that had been seen in several J&J recipients, according to a draft meeting agenda.
Also Wednesday, President Biden will speak about the pandemic response and vaccination effort from the White House as his team and governors pivot from mass-vaccination to a more nuanced and targeted rollout.
The low-hanging fruit of eager persons has been picked, so vaccinators need to root out people who’ve struggled to find doses or convince people the vaccines are safe and effective.
Mr. Biden wants 70% of U.S. adults to receive at least one dose of a vaccine by July 4.
Nearly 59% of adults had received a single dose or more as of Wednesday.