Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine received final approval for children ages 5 to 11 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky endorsed a recommendation by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.
The decision means that up to 28 million children in the age group will be eligible for the shots.
“Vaccination, along with other preventative measures, can protect children from COVID-19 using the safe and effective vaccines already recommended for use in adolescents and adults in the US,” the CDC said in a press statement.
Also, distribution of pediatric vaccinations across the country has reportedly started to pediatric health care provider offices, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and more.
“In adult vaccine trials, vaccination was nearly 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 5-11 years,” said Walensky.
In a statement, US President Joe Biden said: “Today, we have reached a turning point in our battle against COVID-19: authorization of a safe, effective vaccine for children age 5 to 11. It will allow parents to end months of anxious worrying about their kids and reduce the extent to which children spread the virus to others. It is a major step forward for our nation in our fight to defeat the virus.”
Children in the age group comprise 39% of COVID-19 cases in people younger than 18, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Roughly 8,300 COVID-19 cases in children have resulted in hospitalization and 146 children have died.
The FDA has already signed off on smaller doses for children than those given to adults and teenagers in its emergency use authorization. The dose approved by the FDA is one-third of that given to the other age groups.