The White House told the governors of all 50 U.S. States in a phone call Tuesday that they should prepare to begin distributing COVID-19 vaccines to elementary schoolchildren as soon as early November.
The Biden administration told the governors that it had some 28 million doses ready to be distributed to children between ages 5 and 11, as reported by ABC News.
The administration has purchased some 65 million doses in preparation for the vaccine to receive emergency use approval (EUA) from the Federal Food & Drug Administration for children between the ages of 5 and 11. The pediatric version of the shot is about a third the dosage of the adult version. Once the vaccine receives the EUA, it will be distributed in batches of 100 doses to physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, and in some states, directly to schools. It will be distributed to students for free through the same program used for adult vaccination.
“We’ve secured plenty of supply, and we’ll be putting in place an allocation, ordering and distribution system similar to what we’ve used for the other vaccines,” White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients said on the call with state governors.
The administration is still waiting for federal regulators to approve the pediatric dosage of the vaccine, though Pfizer has said that it plans to have EUA for the pediatric vaccine sometime in late October or early November.
As previously reported by The Daily Wire, Pfizer and its partner company BioNTech are awaiting an expert review for the vaccine, which is scheduled for October 26th. Pfizer conducted a study of over 2,000 children and found no serious side effects, though the company admitted its study was not large enough to detect rarer side effects like the heart inflammation that presents very rarely in young men after they’ve received the second dose of the vaccine.
The study involving children comes on the heels of another study that found that the vaccine is 90% effective against severe illness due to COVID-19 for at least six months after the second dose.
The White House told governors to expect a run on the vaccine and instructed states to ensure a fast and easy scheduling process for children.
“It’s important that all of us recognize that parents have been waiting for a pediatric vaccine for a long time so they will understandably be very eager to get their kids vaccinated or kids vaccinated right away,” said Zients.
The push comes as states like California begin to impose vaccine mandates on students. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Oct.1 that he would mandate that all eligible students be vaccinated for COVID in order to attend in-person classes. The mandate would go into effect for 7th through 12th-grade students immediately, given that the vaccine is now approved for children 12 years of age and older, and would go into effect for K-6th graders after the vaccine for younger children had been approved for distribution by the FDA.