NIH director: Vaccine approval for kids unlikely before late 2021

“I got to be honest, I don’t see approval for kids 5 to 11 coming much before the end of 2021,” Collins told NPR in an interview.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, gave a more optimistic assessment Tuesday, saying Pfizer’s shot could secure FDA authorization for younger children as early as fall of this year.

Asked whether children under 12 might be able to get the vaccine before the winter holiday season, Fauci — who works under Collins as director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — told NBC in an interview: “I think there’s a reasonable chance that that will be the case.”

Discussing the forthcoming FDA review, Fauci added: “I hope all of that process will take place expeditiously, and that we will have it on the timetable that you just mentioned — hopefully, by the mid-late fall and early winter.”

The remarks from Collins and Fauci come after the FDA on Monday formally approved Pfizer’s vaccine for use in people 16 and older, making it the first of the three available coronavirus shots in the United States to win full federal licensure.

The vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were previously granted emergency authorizations by the FDA between December 2020 and February 2021.