WASHINGTON — Pfizer’s CEO says “it’s a question of days, not weeks” before the company and German partner BioNTech submit data to U.S. regulators for federal authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 to 11.

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That would be an important step toward starting vaccinations for those youngsters, especially with kids now back in school and the delta variant resulting in a big jump in pediatric infections.

Pfizer said last week that its vaccine works for that age group and that it tested a much lower dose of the vaccine that’s already available for anyone 12 and older.

The company said that after children age 5 to 11 got their second dose during testing, they developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults getting the regular-strength shots.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday that if the Food and Drug Administration approves the company’s application, “we will be ready with our manufacturing to provide this new formulation of the vaccine.”