Pfizer will have enough doses of Covid vaccine for every child

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Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Tuesday the U.S. government has ordered enough doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to cover every child in the country, as a Centers for Disease Control panel meets to decide whether or not to recommend authorization of injections for children aged 5 to 11.

“The US government has placed orders with us that basically cover all of the children in this country. So the supply will be there and I hope a lot of children will benefit from it,” Bourla said on CNBC’s “The Exchange”. .

Pfizer vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 were approved by the Food and Drug Administration on Friday. On Tuesday, the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices was reviewing the data before deciding whether to recommend injections for children in this age group. The committee’s recommendation could have an impact on CDC director Rochelle Wallensky’s decision to allow the vaccine to be distributed.

The children could start receiving their injections on Tuesday evening if Walensky acts quickly on the panel’s expected recommendation. The CDC approved Pfizer vaccines for children ages 12 to 15 in May, just hours after the advisory committee recommended injections for this age cohort.

Parents who send their young children back to school and daycare suffer from anxiety because they are vaccinated and their children are not, Bourla said.

Children accounted for 16.6% of Covid cases in the United States, but remained in the low single-digit percentile of Covid hospitalizations in the 24 reporting states, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

According to CDC data, 652 children in the United States have died from Covid since the start of the pandemic.

“At this time, it appears that serious illness from Covid-19 is rare in children,” the AAP website read. “However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on … the ways in which the virus can adversely affect the long-term physical health of infected children.”

Children aged 5 to 11 will receive a lower dose of mRNA-based vaccines than adults, Bourla said, and children under 5 will receive an even lower dose. Trials are still ongoing for children under 5, but Bourla said he expects the Covid vaccine for this age group to be able to get clearance in early 2022.

Pfizer is working on a Covid antiviral pill similar to one developed by pharmaceutical rival Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics. Internal Merck data shows that the company’s treatment reduces the risk of hospitalization and death from Covid by 50% in high-risk patients.

Bourla wished Merck the best of luck in securing regulatory clearance, saying the world needs additional treatment options. He noted that Pfizer currently has three ongoing studies to test its Covid treatment.

“Our studies are ongoing and we expect that we will have an indication of effectiveness probably before the end of the year,” said Bourla.

“If the studies are positive and have high efficacy, we have already approved a billion dollar investment at the end of the summer and the manufacturing is already at risk,” he said. “We will have quantities even this year, if we are successful.”

Bourla’s comments came after Pfizer released stronger-than-expected quarterly reports earlier today. The company has also raised its full-year sales forecast for its Covid vaccine by 7.5%.

On his results conference call, Bourla said Pfizer has the capacity to manufacture 4 billion doses of the vaccine next year and already has orders for 1.7 billion doses. Bourla said he hopes low-income countries will place orders because the company will charge them much less than middle- and upper-income countries.

Pfizer stock rose more than 4% on Tuesday.

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