States can order COVID-19 vaccines for kids 5-11 starting Oct. 20

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On Oct. 7, Pfizer submitted its request for the FDA to extend its COVID-19 vaccine's emergency use authorization to include children between ages 5 and 11. Since then, the CDC released a guide to which states can refer when making plans ahead of the FDA's decision.

Six takeaways from the guide:

  1. Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 will be a different product than its vaccine for adolescents and adults. It will have new packaging, new preparation and a new national drug code.

  2. States can start placing pre-orders for pediatric COVID-19 vaccines beginning Oct. 20. Pre-orders will occur in three waves, with the other two taking place Oct. 22 and 24. States will have 48 hours to place orders for each wave.

  3. Pediatric COVID-19 vaccine shipments can begin once the FDA grants its emergency use authorization. Administration can begin once CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, makes a recommendation.

  4. The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet Oct. 26 to discuss pediatric COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has scheduled similar meetings for Nov. 2-3. The CDC said states should be ready to vaccinate children ages 5-11 shortly thereafter, pending FDA emergency authorization and CDC recommendations.

  5. Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 will be packaged in 10-dose vials in cartons of 10 vials each.

  6. The CDC said not all COVID-19 vaccination sites will need to receive pediatric vaccines. Providers that are most likely to vaccinate pediatric populations should be prioritized, a list that includes pediatric clinics, federally qualified health centers, pharmacies and rural health clinics.

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