CDC “hopes” that children as young as 5 years old will be able to receive COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021

Little patient with face mask receiving coronavirus or flu vaccine shot by nurse in hospital. Vaccination, immunization, disease prevention concept.

Families with young children will finally have an update on when their little ones can be vaccinated against COVID-19. The companies behind the Pfizer vaccine plan to seek approval in the coming weeks for its use in children as young as 5 years old. founders of vaccine maker BioNTech said in an interview published Friday:.

“It looks good, everything is going according to plan,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin told German Newsweekly the mirror. He noted that the raw data – particularly with regard to the results of the study in children between 5 and 11 years old – are currently being prepared for regulatory registration. BioNTech Chief Medical Officer Özlem Tureci said they are working to produce smaller doses of the vaccine in preparation for regulatory approval.

Related: A logical (and reassuring) explanation for why the COVID vaccinations for children are taking so long

This news may mean that children in the age group of 5 to 11 years be eligible to get the shot by the end of the year, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We want to act fast, we anticipate fast, but we also want to have the efficacy data and the safety data that the [Food and Drug Administration] required … to make sure it’s the right choice for kids,” she said in an interview with NBC’s Today on Monday.

As Walensky said, vaccine makers must first submit their data to the FDA for emergency use approval. It will probably take a few weeks, if not months, for the FDA to determine whether the shots are safe for children.

“We’re going to review that data from the FDA and the CDC with the urgency we all feel about getting our kids vaccinated, and we hope by the end of the year,” she said.

This possible extension to children from the age of 5 means that parents – who have long been difficulty understanding how to proceed with only vaccinated adults – may be able to protect their children amid a weak start to the school year, in which pediatric COVID-19 positivity rates have risen due to the wave of the Delta variant among unvaccinated.

As for even younger age groups, BioNTech said it has plans to seek approval for the vaccine in children between 6 months and 2 years old later this year.

COVID-19 vaccine updates for children ages 12 to 15

This news comes months after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 12 to 15 years in the United States. In early May, the agency amended the current emergency use authorization to reflect the extended minimum age and to include this adolescent group.

That announcement came less than a week after reports showed that Pfizer expected to file with the FDA in September for: emergency authorization to administer the coronavirus vaccine to children between the ages of 2 and 11.

In late March, Pfizer reported that: none of the 2,260 12- to 15-year-old subjects from his clinical trial who received the vaccine developed symptomatic infections, a sign of considerable protection. The pharmaceutical company said the volunteers produced strong antibodies and experienced side effects similar to those seen in those aged 16 to 25.

After it was approved by the FDA, an advisory committee on immunization within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention met to determine whether the CDC would recommend its use in the new age group.

This authorization — which, like the adult vaccine, came much earlier than expected — opened up the U.S. vaccination campaign to millions more individuals and was another major step forward in raising the population’s immunity levels, with the ultimate goal of lowering of the amount of hospitalizations and deaths.

Related: The COVID-19 vaccine and children: what parents need to know

For those parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their tweens and teens, both pediatricians and epidemiologists recommend getting it, noting that adolescents in this age group, although technically children, tend to respond to the coronavirus in the same way as adults.

Meanwhile, Moderna expects positive results from its own clinical trial with adolescents ages 12 to 17, and has dosing trials underway for children as young as 6 months old which they hope to submit by the end of the year.