US President Joe Biden has said that approval from the Food and Drug Administration to vaccinate children under the age of 12 against the coronavirus could come as early as the end of August.
“They’re not promising me any specific date, but my expectation talking to the group of scientists we’ve put together… plus others in the field, is that sometime maybe in the beginning of the school year, at the end of August, beginning of September, October, they’ll get a final approval,” Biden said at a televised CNN town hall in Cincinnati on Wednesday.
Biden warned that the public health crisis has turned largely into a plight of the unvaccinated as the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 has led to a surge in infections around the country.
“We have a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten the vaccination — it’s that basic, that simple,” he said.
“If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die,” Biden said at the forum at Mount St. Joseph University. “So it’s gigantically important that… we all act like Americans who care about our fellow Americans.”
Israeli health officials have recommended vaccinating children under 12 suffering from preexisting conditions that may put them at risk if they contract COVID-19.
In the meantime, vaccination in Israel is only available to those 12 and up under the national inoculation drive, which uses the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Just over 30 percent of children aged 12 to 15 have been vaccinated, alongside 9% who have recovered from the virus, according to Health Ministry data released last Thursday. Over half the general population has been vaccinated.
Last week an FDA official was reported to have predicted that the approval for vaccination of children below 12 would come sometime in the winter.
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is being distributed under an FDA emergency use authorization, which can be revoked when the COVID-19 crisis ends. The company announced in May that it was seeking full FDA approval, which would allow the vaccine to remain on the market and be sold to customers directly.
The emergency use authorization applies only to those 12 and over for now, and the company is seeking approval from the FDA to administer its vaccine to children aged 2-11.
In March, both Pfizer and competitor Moderna launched trials of their vaccines for children under 12. The results are expected in the fall,, according to the NBC network, and would then be reviewed by the FDA.