US surgeon general: FDA likely to OK COVID-19 vaccines in younger kids amid school year

Murthy predicted 'the odds are high'

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy predicted Wednesday that younger kids under 12 could become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine during the upcoming school year.

"I think the odds are high," Murthy told "Skimm This" podcast, set to air later Thursday. 

During a lightning round, the podcast had prompted "the odds that a vaccine for kids under 12 will be approved during the next school year." 

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President Biden recently predicted vaccines could win authorization for children under 12 as early as August, with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Walensky previously adding during a White House briefing: "I'll just say that we're looking at the clinical trial data now, we're waiting for the clinical trial data to come in, the approval of the data and the authorization will be a regulatory FDA decision. So after we have seen the clinical trial, I have not seen them myself, after we will see them then they will go to the FDA for their regulatory process of authorization."

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The FDA is seeking to expand emergency approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to younger children ages 8 and up by September, sources recently told Fox News. The vaccine is currently eligible for children as young as 12, and trials are underway in younger age groups.

In late June, Dr. Alejandra Gurtman, vice president of vaccine clinical research and development at Pfizer, reiterated company plans to request emergency approval for use of its vaccine in kids aged 5 to 11 by September or October.

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"We are planning for emergency use authorization submission for the older age group, that is the 5 to 11,  in September, October of this year and the younger group to follow soon thereafter," she previously said.

Moderna is also studying its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 6 months to 11 years, and recently expanded the size of its trial in kids aged 5 to 11 to better detect for potential rare side effects, a spokesperson previously confirmed to Fox News.

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"At this point we expect to have a package that supports authorization in winter 2021/early 2022, should the FDA choose to use the authorization avenue," a Moderna spokesperson previously wrote to Fox News, in part.

The latest guidance from the CDC advised universal masking for schools regardless of individuals' vaccination status amid rising infections due to the delta variant.