FDA panel recommends Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11

On Tuesday, the vaccines advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted to recommend that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine be approved for children between 5 and 11 years old.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee convened Tuesday morning to hear presentations for several hours before it held the vote. The FDA will consider the recommendation before deciding whether to grant emergency authorization for smaller doses of the vaccine for children in the younger age range.

The vote was nearly unanimous, with 17 members backing it and one member abstaining.

Last week, Pfizer said that the doses were better than 90% effective in children 5-11.

To date, fewer than 100 children between 5 and 11 have died from COVID-19, and 8,300 have been hospitalized, said Dr. Peter Marks, who heads the FDA vaccines division, according to The New York Times.

If the FDA approves the vaccine for younger children, it would also need to be approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Next week, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory group is expected to make its own recommendation. If it issues an endorsement and Dr. Walensky signs off, shots for young kids could begin immediately.

The administration said it had procured enough vaccine to inoculate all 28 million 5- to 11-year-olds in the U.S., and will distribute it in smaller dosing and with smaller needles to make it easier for pediatricians and pharmacists to administer to kids.

On Monday, Moderna said that smaller doses of its vaccine in children of the same age group have proven to be safe and spurs an antibody response in recipients in late-stage clinical trials.


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