Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that he hopes to see coronavirus vaccines administered to children ages 5 and 11 starting next month, even as a newly released poll shows that many Americans have concerns about inoculating younger kids.
Dr. Fauci’s comments came after Pfizer and BioNTech SE announced Tuesday that they have submitted data from their Phase 2/3 trial to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization in youngsters 5 to 11.
“The FDA takes very seriously the importance of getting vaccines shown to be safe and effective in children, to getting it into the arms of children, in this case children from 11 down to 5,” Dr. Fauci, who serves as President Biden’s chief medical advisor, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“The FDA, you never want to get ahead of their judgment, but I would imagine in the next few weeks they will examine that data and hopefully they’ll give the okay so that we can start vaccinating children hopefully before the end of October,” he said.
In its press release, Pfizer said the data “have been shared with the FDA for the Agency’s initial review.”
“A formal submission to request Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to <12 years of age is expected to follow in the coming weeks,” said the release. “Submissions to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and other regulatory authorities are also planned.”
Whether parents are ready to have their younger children vaccinated against COVID-19 is another question.
A Convention of States Action poll conducted by the Trafalgar Group found that 48.6% of U.S. voters surveyed were “not confident that the COVID-19 vaccines are necessary and appropriate for children ages 5-12,” while 42.2% said they were confident and 9.3% were unsure.
Of those who were “not confident,” 38.4% said they were “not confident at all.”
Convention President Mark Meckler said that the poll indicates that efforts to mandate vaccines for children 12 and under “are not going to fly with the public.”
“In poll after poll, we see that the American people are fundamentally skeptical about so-called science coming out of Washington, DC,” Mr. Meckler said in a statement. “They see the conflicting information and almost daily shifts in policy, and don’t want their children to be the guinea pigs for a group of bureaucrats who have mismanaged and bungled this crisis from the start.”
Mr. Biden has urged vaccinations for children 12 and older to combat the spread of the fast-moving Delta variant, which fueled a surge in cases starting in July.
“The FDA is undergoing a process now to evaluate a vaccine for children under the age of 12, and under the President’s plan, the Administration will do whatever it takes to support those efforts, while continuing to respect and defer to the scientific decision-making of the agency,” the White House said in its COVID-19 Action Plan.
The COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a consortium of researchers advising the Centers for Disease Control, released last week modeling that predicted the Delta variant has peaked, and that cases and deaths would decline steadily by March.