The panel approved revising its guidance to say, “COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing.” This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines. However, the guidance says providers can consider if a patient is behind or at risk of becoming behind on recommended vaccines, as well as consider the reactogenicity profile of the vaccines.
The doctors noted routine vaccination fell significantly this past year, and some cited evidence that when adolescents miss a vaccination, that often means they don’t get vaccinated.
While there are not studies assuring that co-administration is safe, as one doctor noted, “We are in an urgent moment and don’t have time to wait for those studies.”
In its public comment session, the panel heard from a half-dozen people opposing emergency-use authorization. Some feared that if the panel endorses the vaccine, that schools will mandate it. The speakers also said they wanted to see studies on potential long-term effects of vaccination before the vaccine is given to adolescents.
More on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only vaccine with FDA authorization for use in adolescents and teenagers. It is logistically challenging to distribute because it must be stored in special ultracold freezers that are not be widely available. To locate the nearest facility administering Pfizer, go to vaccine.gov/search/ then select Pfizer-BioNTech COVID Vaccine and input your ZIP code.
Pfizer-BioNTech is filing for full FDA approval of its vaccine for people ages 16 and up, making it the first vaccine in the U.S. to be assessed for full regulatory approval.
Pfizer-BioNTech has also announced it plans to file in September for emergency-use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in ages 2 to 11.
Lois Norder of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.