CDC panel votes today on Pfizer’s vaccine for kids 5 to 11


Sarah Tew
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO and CDC websites.

Parents are very close to being able to get their younger kids vaccinated against COVID-19. An advisory committee to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is meeting today to discuss whether to recommend Pfizer’s vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. To listen to a livestream of the meeting, visit the CDC’s page. 

The panel, aka ACIP, is discussing the safety and effectiveness data that led to the US Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of Pfizer’s vaccine for younger kids. It’s expected that the panel will recommend the vaccine for kids 5 to 11, and that the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, will accept the committee’s recommendation soon after, making the shots officially available to kids. 

Pfizer’s vaccine for children 5 to 11 is a smaller dose than the one given to people 12 and older. It’s authorized by the FDA as a two-dose series, three weeks apart. The formula of the vaccine for kids is also a little different, making it easier to store and use in places such as pediatricians’ offices. 

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout for children 5 to 11 will look different than the campaign to get adults vaccinated. The White House announced a plan at the end of October that vowed to “begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation.” At a press conference this week, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said that shots for kids should be ready to go the week of Nov. 8. 

Children are at lower risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death compared to adults, but they can still experience complications,  including long COVID and multisystem inflammatory syndrome. About 8,300 COVID-19 cases in children 5 to 11 have led to hospitalization, according to an FDA release. As of Oct. 17, 146 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the US in children 5 to 11. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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