Children aged 5 – 11 across the country will soon be able able to receive a coronavirus vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration has now authorized Pfizer and BioNTech’s shot for kids of that age group, affirming the recommendation of its advisory committee. This announcement gives way for up to 28 million young Americans to receive Pfizer’s vaccine. It gives us a powerful tool available to help protect children from COVID-19 and keep schools open.
It is still not yet clear whether all children aged 5 to 11 will be recommended for vaccination by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whose own advisory group is set to meet and issue guidance soon.
Pfizer showed in clinical testing that two doses a third of the size given to teenagers and adults sparked a similarly strong immune response in children 5- to 11-years old. Although the total number of cases was small, the shot was also about 91% effective at preventing symptomatic disease, making the results less certain.
Most importantly, the vaccine also seems to be safe. Pfizer reported no severe side effects related to vaccination, including a form of heart inflammation, known as myocarditis, a top concern of drug regulators and FDA advisers.