Data on Covid-19 Vaccines for Children Under 12 Expected by Late Fall, Health Officials Say
By Thomas M. Burton
WASHINGTON -- There will likely be enough evidence by late fall
this year to potentially extend the use of Covid-19 vaccines to
many children under age 12, Biden administration health officials
told a U.S. Senate panel Tuesday.
"We expect to have data on the safety and effectiveness of
vaccines for children under 12" by that time, David Kessler, the
administration's chief Covid-19 scientific officer, told the Senate
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Administration medical adviser Anthony Fauci told the panel that
such steps to vaccinate younger children will probably occur in
stages, progressing younger and younger, as study evidence
The testimony occurred a day after the Food and Drug
Administration greenlighted the use of a Covid-19 vaccine from
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE in youngsters 12 through 15. That
vaccine was authorized late last year by the FDA for broad use in
adults from age 16 and older.
It also followed last week's decision by the Biden
administration to support the temporary waiver of intellectual
property provisions to allow developing nations to produce Covid-19
vaccines created by pharmaceutical companies, citing the need to
stop the virus's spread globally.
Sen. Richard Burr (R., N.C.), the committee's ranking
Republican, criticized that decision, calling on the U.S. to "let
the private sector continue" its impressive performance on vaccines
Dr. Kessler acknowledged that "a waiver alone won't result in
the scale and speed" of vaccine production needed to end the global
To combat Covid-19 around the world, the Biden administration
has just redirected a U.S. order of AstraZeneca vaccine
manufacturing supplies to India, which will allow that nation to
make over 20 million doses of vaccine, Dr. Kessler said. The U.S.
is also delivering supplies to help supply medical oxygen for
patients in India, he said, as the pandemic there rages largely out
The Senate hearing covered a swath of Covid-19 topics. Rochelle
Walensky, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, testified that despite the widespread U.S. vaccination
campaign, continued mask-wearing, social distancing and other
fundamental public-health measures still are necessary to avoid
Covid-19 variants that could spread much more quickly than the
While the U.S. vaccination campaign has had considerable
success, she said, "available data suggest that antibodies elicited
by vaccination with the currently authorized vaccines are able to
neutralize the [U.K.] B.1.1.7 variant but have reduced
neutralization" against those first identified in South Africa and
Peter Marks, the director of the FDA's center that evaluates
vaccines, said the agency continues to consider whether to license
a troubled vaccine plant in Baltimore run by Emergent BioSolutions
Inc. The facility made about 110 million total doses of Johnson
& Johnson vaccine and AstraZeneca PLC vaccine.
The doses, about 60 million from AstraZeneca and the remainder
from Johnson & Johnson, can't be used until the FDA signs off
on safety of the plant.
Dr. Marks said those doses already manufactured "will undergo
additional testing and will be thoroughly evaluated to ensure their
quality before any potential distribution."
Write to Thomas M. Burton at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 11, 2021 14:32 ET (18:32 GMT)
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