The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for people age 12 and older by next week, according to a federal official and a person familiar with the process, setting up shots for many before the beginning of the next school year.
Currently, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is approved for people 16 years and older.
"Vaccinating adolescents will bring us closer to ending the pandemic and getting back to normal," said DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD. "Starting the enrollment process now will enable pediatric providers to start vaccinating their patients soon after the FDA expands the Pfizer vaccine's EUA."
READ MORE: FDA expected to OK Pfizer vaccine for teens within week
The Texas DSHS sent a letter to more than 3,000 pediatric health care providers enrolled in the Texas Vaccines for Children program, as well as to the Texas Medical Association, Texas Pediatric Society and other provider groups, inviting them to enroll.
Providers can start the enrollment process at on the Texas DSHS website.
Pfizer in late March released preliminary results from a vaccine study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15, showing there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared with 18 among those given placebos.
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Kids had side effects similar to young adults, the company said. The main side effects are pain, fever, chills and fatigue, particularly after the second dose. The study will continue to track participants for two years for more information about long-term protection and safety.
Pfizer isn't the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. Results also are expected by the middle of this year from a U.S. study of Moderna's vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds.
But in a sign that the findings were promising, the FDA already allowed both companies to begin U.S. studies in children 11 and younger, working their way to as young as 6 months old.
The video above is from a previous report.