28 Million Children Now Eligible To Receive Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

In Summary

The FDA and the CDC have officially given the green light for children ages 5 to 11 to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

In what’s being called a monumental turning point in the pandemic, children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, per CNBC.

The news comes following emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who recommended parents not wait to vaccinate their children out of fear.

RELATED: FDA Approves Moderna and J&J COVID-19 Booster Shots 

“Too many children have either lost a parent or become orphaned in this pandemic, which is incredibly tragic,” CDC committee member Dr. Camille Kotton said, per CNBC. “So as an infectious disease specialist and a mother who has vaccinated both of her children, I am fully supportive of recommending this vaccine for this age cohort.” 

Vaccinations have kicked off in full force, with some children in Connecticut lining up to receive their first dose on Tuesday, the same night shipments arrived at hospitals in Texas and Ohio. The two-shot series involves smaller doses three weeks apart, injecting one-third of the dosage given to teens and adults. 

There are enough doses to fully vaccinate all 28 million eligible children in the United States, and the White House announced on Monday that 15 million doses have already been moved from Pfizer’s freezers and facilities to distribution sites. 

RELATED: Pfizer Will Seek Approval for Third Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine 

In a clinical trial involving children aged 5 to 11, Pfizer said the shots were well tolerated and the most common side effects were modest and comparable to those seen in a trial involving teenagers and adults aged 16 to 25, per CBNC. Possible side effects for children include fever, fatigue, headache and muscle soreness. 

In a clip on “BNC Go,” former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said whatever side effects medical officials are seeing have to be compared to the risk of not getting the vaccine. More than 8,300 in the age group have been hospitalized due to COVID-19, and a third of them ended up in the intensive care unit. 

Children also now make up a disproportionate number of new COVID-19 cases, accounting for a quarter of all cases just last week—something health experts anticipate the vaccine will change. 

“If we have safe and effective vaccines, why wouldn’t we make those available to families to make that decision and protect their children,” said Dr. Ofer Levy, a member of the FDA’s advisory committee panel. 

The vaccination process will be fully up and running starting the week of November 8. 

RELATED: How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe?

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