The announcement is expected to come just a month after the company found that its shot, which is already licensed for people 16 and older, also offered protection to the younger group.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to clear Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for young adults 12 and older by next week, according to a federal official and someone familiar with the process, putting in place vaccines for many before the start of the next. school year.

The announcement is expected to come just a month after the company found that its shot, which is already licensed for people 16 and older, also offered protection to the younger group.

The federal official, speaking on condition of anonymity to preview the FDA’s action, said the agency is expected to extend its emergency use authorization for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine earlier this week. next, and maybe even sooner.

The person familiar with the process, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters, confirmed the timeline and added that it is expected that the FDA will approve Pfizer for use by even younger children this fall.

The FDA’s action will be followed by a meeting of a Federal Vaccine Advisory Committee to discuss whether to recommend the vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds.

The shooting could begin after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adopts the committee’s recommendation. These steps could be completed in a matter of days.

The New York Times first reported on when the clearance was due.

Pfizer released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers aged 12 to 15 in late March, showing that there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 among those who received sham injections.

The children had side effects similar to those of young adults, the company said. The main side effects are pain, fever, chills and fatigue, especially after the second dose. The study will continue to follow participants for two years for more information on long-term protection and safety.

Pfizer is not the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. The results are also expected by the middle of this year from a US study of Moderna’s vaccine in young people aged 12 to 17.

But a sign that the results were promising, the FDA has already allowed the two companies to begin American studies on children aged 11 and under, up to the age of 6 months.

More than 131 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have already been administered in the United States, where demand for vaccines among adults has slowed significantly in recent weeks.

While younger people are at significantly lower risk of serious side effects from COVID-19, they have made up a larger share of new cases of the virus because the majority of adults in the United States have been at least partially vaccinated and as a result. higher risk activities such as eating indoors and contact sports have resumed across much of the country. Officials hope that expanding vaccinations to adolescents will further accelerate the reduction in the number of virus cases in the country and allow schools to reopen with minimal disruption this fall.

The United States ordered at least 300 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine at the end of July, enough to protect 150 million people.

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