CHILDREN as young as 5 years old in the United States can now get the COVID-19 vaccine as the country further expands its vaccination campaign.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, November 2, endorsed its advisory committee’s recommendation to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.
“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,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.
“As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated,” she added.
At the outset of the meeting, Walensky noted that the pandemic has had a profound social, mental health and educational impact on children.
“There are children in the second grade who have never experienced a normal school year,” she said. “Pediatric vaccination has the power to help us change all of that.”
Earlier that day, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously voted in favor of the child-sized doses of vaccine for the younger kids.
The Pfizer vaccine will be administered to children in two low doses, three weeks apart, using a smaller needle.
For his part, U.S. President Joe Biden called the decision “a turning point” in the fight against COVID-19.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“Over the last several weeks, my Administration has been working hard to be prepared for this moment: we are ready to act. We have already secured enough vaccine supply for every child in America,” he added.
Likewise, the American Academy of Pediatrics welcomed the CDC’s decision.
“Vaccinating children will protect children’s health and allow them to fully engage in all of the activities that are so important to their health and development,” it said in a statement.
“Parents can enjoy greater peace of mind gathering with family members this winter and sending their children to school, sports and other events that were paused during the height of the pandemic,” it added.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer vaccine for the country’s youngest age group, saying the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk to children.
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include children 5 through 11 years of age,” the agency said Friday, October 29.
“The authorization was based on the FDA’s thorough and transparent evaluation of the data that included input from independent advisory committee experts who overwhelmingly voted in favor of making the vaccine available to children in this age group,” it added.