The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in children 5 to 11 on Tuesday, the final step needed to begin the vaccine rollout for eligible kids.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced that the agency was moving forward with the vaccine after their advisers unanimously recommended its approval.
“We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated, and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” the director said in a statement on the CDC’s decision. “As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist.”
The vaccine rollout for children 5 to 11 is expected to begin as early as tomorrow, as the White House had already prepared itself for the likely event that the CDC would approve the shot this week.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, the US’ Surgeon General, told interviewers on NBC’s “Today” show two weeks ago that the Biden Administration had been preparing for the decision from the FDA and CDC for the past several weeks.
Not only has the White House arranged for enough vaccines to cover all American children from 5-11, the tens of thousands of locations where they can receive the vaccines also had to be organized and prepared for the mass inoculation program. The Administration also has taken it upon itself to ensure that parents will be able to have ready answers for any possible questions regarding the vaccine, according to Murthy.
A total of 15 million doses are already prepared to ship specifically for children’s vaccinations, and the shots will be available at pediatricians’ offices, children’s hospitals, pharmacies, and community health centers.
Twenty-eight million children will be able to receive the shot, which contains one-third of the adult dose, with two injections spaced three weeks apart.
Pfizer study found its vaccine was safe and effective for younger children
In September, Pfizer publicized its findings from Phase Two of its three trials, showing that the product was not only safe but activated a “robust” antibody response in those aged 5 to 11.
A total of 2,268 volunteer subjects aged 5 to 11 received a two-dose regimen of the Pfizer inoculation, administered 21 days apart, according to a report from CNN. Unlike the adult doses, however, the trial geared to much younger children used 10-microgram doses, one-third of the amount of vaccine given to all those 12 and up.
Pfizer officials say that they measured the immune responses as seen in the amounts of neutralizing antibodies in participants’ blood, contrasting those levels to what had already been seen in a control group comprised of 16- to 25-year-olds who had received the larger 30-microgram shot series.
The company says that the immunity levels detected in the youngest children were comparable to those seen in the other group, making for a “strong immune response in this cohort of children one month after the second dose.”