An FDA advisory committee is holding a public meeting to discuss the authorization on October 26, 2021.

Today, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they have officially submitted their request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their COVID-19 vaccine in kids under the age of 12.

Pfizer Inc. discussed how with the rise of COVID-19 cases in children in the United States, submitting a request for EUA who are under the age of 12 is important. To date, Pfizer explained, children represent 16% of the total cumulated COVID-19 cases. For the week ending in September 30, 2021, children under the age of 18 accounted for nearly 27% of all weekly COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

The Delta variant negatively affected children and sent nearly 30,000 of them to hospitals in August. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 5.9 million Americans younger than 18 have been infected with the coronavirus.

“With new cases in children in the U.S. continuing to be at a high level, this submission is an important step in our ongoing effort against COVID19,” Pfizer tweeted. “We’re committed to working with the FDA with the ultimate goal of helping protect children against this serious public health threat.”

An FDA advisory committee, made up of independent experts, are planning to hold a public meeting to discuss the authorization on October 26, 2021.

In August, the FDA gave full approval for the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Prior to being given full approval from the FDA, it had been in use through emergency approval since December of 2020.

Currently in Mississippi and across the nation, individuals can be vaccinated for free at vaccination sites across the country. People who are aged 12 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine, while those 18 and over can receive the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

If the federal regulators agree to Pfizer’s request to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, shots could begin within a matter of weeks.