CDC advisers vote to recommend giving Covid-19 vaccine to kids ages 5 to 11 | News
Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Tuesday to recommend giving Pfizer’s child-sized dose of coronavirus vaccine to children ages 5-11.
Members of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 14-0 to recommend the vaccine for the younger children.
Now, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky must sign off on the vote. The CDC has said its analysis shows the benefits of the vaccine outweigh any risks in this age group and she has signaled she will recommend it.
“We have been asking when we will be able to expand this protection to our younger children,” she said in opening comments to the committee.
The CDC says 745 children and teenagers under 18 have died of Covid-19. “The chance that a child will have severe Covid, require hospitalization or develop a long term complication like MIS-C remains low, but still the risk is too high and too devastating to our children, and far higher than for many other diseases for which we vaccinate children,” Walensky added.
Walensky said it’s also important to continue vaccinating adults.
About 28 million kids would be newly eligible, and for some parents and pediatricians, a decision can’t come soon enough. Children now make up a disproportionate number of new Covid-19 cases, according to a report published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics — accounting for a quarter of all the new cases last week.
The US Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer’s vaccine for this younger age group on Friday, giving the company the distinction of having the first emergency use authorization for a Covid-19 shot for younger kids in the United States. The FDA said the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk to children.
Pfizer says its clinical trial showed the vaccine provides 90.7% protection against symptomatic disease among this age group — at one-third the dose of what people 12 years and older get. The company hopes the smaller dose will reduce any potential side effects.
Millions of doses of the vaccine are already being shipped from the company’s facilities to distribution centers across the country, ready to go out to pharmacies and pediatricians’ offices.
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CNN’s Jen Christensen contributed to this report.