Pfizer vaccine
Pfizer vaccineOlivier Fitoussi/Flash 90

The US government is planning to roll out COVID-19 vaccines for children under the age of 5 as soon as February 21, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a document from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering authorizing the use of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine in the age group even though it did not meet a key target in a clinical trial of 2- to 4-year-olds, according to the report.

Outside advisers to the FDA are scheduled to meet on February 15 to discuss whether to recommend the regulator to authorize the vaccine. The roll out of the vaccine for children under the age of 5, the only age group not yet eligible for the shots, is set to begin less than a week after the meeting.

The CDC document cited by Reuters said the US government is planning to ship an initial 10 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to states and other entities before the end of February, should the FDA authorize their use.

The first roll out, which begins on February 21, will prioritize areas where children are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease.

Young children will receive a lower dose of the vaccine, if it is authorized. Pfizer/BioNTech tested a 3-microgram dose of the vaccine in the age group, compared with a 10-microgram dose in 5- to 11-year-olds and 30 micrograms for people aged 12 and older.

Pfizer and BioNTech last week officially announced they have begun submitting data to US regulators seeking emergency use authorization (EUA) of their COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5.