Pfizer and BioNTech have formally requested that the U.S. government authorize for emergency use their COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old.
Pfizer announced the request early Thursday on Twitter.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients said Thursday the vaccine for the age group could be available as soon as November if the request is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA has scheduled an October 26 meeting with outside advisers to consider the request.
COVID-19 infections among children reached their highest point since the pandemic began in early September, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. A quick approval could help ease a potential spike in cases this fall, a time when schools have already reopened nationwide after the summer break.
The drugmakers submitted initial trial data for the vaccine to the FDA last month. The companies said the trial data involving 2,268 people showed the vaccine was safe and effective for the age group.
The FDA previously authorized the vaccine for emergency use in teens between 12 and 15, while fully approving it for those 16 and up.
Children are less susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19, but health experts say they can spread the coronavirus to others.
Some information for this report comes from AP and Reuters.