The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) paved the way for kids ages 5 to 11 to get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.
The FDA authorized child-sized doses – only one-third the amount given to teens and adults– for emergency use, with as many as 28 million more American children could be vaccinated starting next week.
One more regulatory hurdle remains: On Tuesday, advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make more detailed recommendations on which youth should be vaccinated, and the agency’s director is expected to make a final decision soon after.
Some countries have started using other COVID-19 vaccines in children under 12, such as China, which has just started vaccinating 3-year-olds. But many who use the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are awaiting the US decision, and European regulators have only just begun to consider child-sized doses from companies.
With FDA action, Pfizer plans to begin shipping millions of vials of the pediatric vaccine —With orange caps to avoid confusion with the purple capped doses for everyone else— to doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and other vaccination sites. The children would receive two doses three weeks apart.
Although children are less at risk of serious illness or dying from COVID-19 than older people, children ages 5 to 11 have been severely affected, with more than 8,300 hospitalizations in the United States, a third of which have required intensive care, and nearly 100 deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the FDA.
Voice of America (VOA)