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White House addresses COVID-19 vaccine future

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 5:53 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The White House is waiting for the Food and Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s final recommendations regarding the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11.

“We have been working with state government, local public health agencies, doctor’s offices, community health centers, pharmacies to make sure that they will have the vaccines if the FDA and CDC approve the vaccine,” Dr. Bechara Choucair, the White House Vaccination Coordinator said. “We do expect if the process plays out, and both CDC and the FDA approved the vaccines, we can start seeing kids getting vaccinated the following day after the CDC makes that decision.”

An FDA advisory panel voted to recommend a smaller dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in children 5-11 on Tuesday.

“As soon as the FDA issues the authorization, we’re going to start shipping the vaccine, but no providers can administer the vaccine until the CDC issues its final recommendation,” Choucair said.

[FDA panel backs Pfizer’s low-dose COVID-19 vaccine for kids]

Choucair says he expects a CDC vaccine advisory group to make its own recommendation. If it’s an endorsement and the CDC follows suit, shots for young kids could begin immediately.

“We have been working with about 25,000 doctor’s offices across the country to make sure they have processes in place, they have access to the vaccines so that they can vaccinate their five to 11-year-old patients,” Choucair said.

Some parents have concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for young children. Choucair says they have every right to ask questions.

“We have to make sure that we have answers to those questions,” Choucair said. “Those are legitimate questions.”

Choucair advises those parents to listen in on panel discussions or talk to an expert they trust.

“Those parents can listen in to those debates, or more conveniently and more likely what’s going to happen - they can talk to their pediatrician, talk to their family doctor, get those answers to those questions that they have.”

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