In a letter to President Biden, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has joined his Democratic counterpart in Colorado in a bipartisan request to speed federal approval for Moderna’s application for a coronavirus vaccine for children under age 6.
Baker and Gov. Jared Polis called for the Food and Drug Administration to “move quickly to review applications from manufacturers as soon as they are complete and the data shows sufficient benefit,” rather than waiting for Pfizer to submit an application and reviewing the two vaccines in tandem, according to the letter.
Moderna submitted its application on April 28 for an emergency use authorization for a two-dose vaccine series. The FDA said it would review the application in June, alongside the expected Pfizer application.
The New York Times reported at the time that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical advisor, suggested the FDA would want to review the two vaccine candidates simultaneously so as to not “confuse people.” An FDA official told the Washington Post that the agency would not “delay things unnecessarily here.”
“Waiting to combine applications from Moderna and Pfizer in an effort to ‘prevent confusion’ with staggered approvals would be ill advised and ultimately prevent our nation’s progress in fighting this virus,” Baker and Polis wrote in their Thursday letter. “Staggered approvals of COVID-19 vaccines have been the norm throughout this pandemic.”
Instead, the FDA should “convene its advisory committee of experts as soon as possible to thoroughly review the application from Moderna, and adhere to its regulatory charge to act expeditiously to approve life saving products,” the governors said, citing the speed with which Pfizer’s vaccine for children 5 through 11 was approved once the company submitted its request.
The letter follows a prior commitment from Baker to “do everything we can” to get vaccines to young children.
“Parents have been told, over and over again, that COVID-19 vaccines are on the horizon for their children,” Baker and Polis wrote. “They deserve the peace of mind that comes with being able to choose to protect their children through vaccination.”
The letter comes as a new variant, a new variant, BA.2.12.1, is rampant across the state. The state’s positive test rate has surged to over 8 percent, the highest level since the initial Omicron variant wave was subsiding in January.
“COVID-19 vaccines for children younger than 5 will be integral to our future success and our country moving past the COVID pandemic,” the letter reads. “We can strengthen community immunity in preparation for the next surge.”