The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has finally taken the last step in recommending the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old.
According to The Wall Street Journal, this endorsement on Tuesday by Rochelle Walensky, the CDC Director, was the last step to be taken and now doctors, nurses, and pharmacists can start giving the shots.
Walensky said in a statement to the press, “Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes Covid-19.”
She also said that as a mom, she encouraged parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse, or local pharmacist. She wants parents to learn more about the vaccine and how important it is to get their children vaccinated. Walensky has said in the past that she thinks children should keep wearing face coverings in school even after they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccination.
Just before the CDC’s recommendation, a panel of advisors for the CDC gave their endorsement of the vaccine for children in that same age bracket.
Beth Bell, a panel member and clinical professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington, said that they had excellent evidence of both efficacy and safety. “We have a favorable risk-benefit analysis. We have many parents out there who are really clamoring and want to have their children vaccinated,” she also noted.
A number of news outlets immediately reported this decision from the CDC. NPR wrote that advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously to recommend the shots on Tuesday. They noted that there are approximately 28 million children in the age group of focus.
Even before the CDC gave their final recommendation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for use in children ages 5-11 years.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the FDA move saying that their decision on Friday paved the way for one of the last remaining groups in the United States to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Daily Wire also reported on the FDA panel’s decision. They said that the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee gave its support to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 5-years-old. And that the panel was in favor of giving children within the age group one-third of the amount of the vaccine dose given to people who are 12 years of age and older. This would be given in the form of two shots spaced apart by three weeks.
The FDA apparently followed the recommendation of the panel.
CNBC also reported, “The company said its low-dose vaccine for kids, which is a third of the dosage given to adults, is more than 90% effective in preventing asymptomatic infection. It also said the shots were well tolerated in young children, producing side effects comparable with those seen in a study of people ages 16 to 25.”
Some are concerned that the study used by the FDA panel did not find any myocarditis cases. It is likely that the size of the study wasn’t large enough to discover any.
This decision by the CDC and the FDA lines up with President Biden’s plan to get children vaccinated.
The White House administration stated last month that they would make vaccination accessible and conveniently located to families across the country, including vaccination clinics at doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers, and school- and community-based sites.