Safety and efficacy trials in children as young as six months are continuing. While young children have shown to be less likely to experience severe cases of COVID-19, inoculating them is thought to be key to stamping out the transmission of the coronavirus.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a Tuesday earnings call that the company plans to submit a request for expanded use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to use the two-dose vaccine in children six months to 2 years old before the end of the year.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been authorized for use in adults starting at 16 years old. Meanwhile, Moderna’s two-dose vaccine has been authorized for use in adults starting at age 18. The update from Pfizer executives comes just days after federal officials disclosed that the company’s shots were about a week away from being authorized for adolescents 12-15.
Vaccination rates among adults have declined in recent weeks, a sign that demand for the shots has slipped despite being available to all adults who want them. Roughly 2.3 million shots were administered on average each day over the past week, compared with a daily average of about 3.4 million shots just three weeks ago.
Still, a majority of U.S. adults over 18 have received at least one dose of a vaccine, with nearly 41% of adults having been fully vaccinated so far. Nearly 70% of seniors 65 and older, the age group at highest risk of severe illness, have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.