A high school senior gets her first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo: AP-Yonhap News)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 by next week.
The news comes a month after the company found that its shot, which is already authorized for teens 16 and older, also provided protection for the younger group.
According to an AP report citing a federal official speaking on the condition of anonymity, the FDA was expected to expand its emergency use authorization for the two-dose vaccine by early next week, or even sooner.
Another person familiar with the process, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the timeline and added that the agency will likely approve Pfizer's use by even younger children sometime this fall.
The FDA action will be followed by a meeting of a federal vaccine advisory committee to discuss whether to recommend the shot, after which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will review the committee's recommendation.
The New York Times first reported on the expected timing for the authorization.
Pfizer in late March released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15, showing there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 18 among those given dummy shots.
Kids had side effects similar to young adults, the company said, mainly pain, fever, chills and fatigue, particularly after the second dose.
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