The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5-11 years old, paving the way for millions more of Americans to get their vaccine shots.
This is a major deal for the pandemic as experts have seen getting children vaccinated against the coronavirus as the final major hurdle to achieving herd immunity and ending the pandemic phase of the coronavirus outbreak.
Did the FDA approve the COVID vaccine for kids?
The FDA said Friday that the decision came after an investigation into the vaccine by an advisory committee and FDA researchers.
- “As a mother and a physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school staff, and children have been waiting for today’s authorization. Vaccinating younger children against COVID-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner. “Our comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of the data pertaining to the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness should help assure parents and guardians that this vaccine meets our high standards.”
Is the COVID-19 vaccine for kids safe?
According to the FDA, the vaccine will be a lower dose (10 micrograms) compared to what those 12 years old and up receive (30 micrograms).
Per the FDA, the vaccine has shown to be 90.7% effective in stopping COVID-19 infections for children 5-11 years old.
- The researchers studied 3,100 children ages 5-11 and found “no serious side effects” among those studied.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Axios that he wouldn’t delay in getting his children vaccinated — if he had any in that 5-11 age range.
- “Even though the chances of (a child) getting sick and seriously ill are small,” he said, “why do you want to take a chance of that with your child, when you can essentially protect the child by an intervention that is proven to be both highly effective and very safe?”
When can your child get the COVID vaccine?
The White House previously released plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to these children.
- In a statement, the Biden administration said it wants to make sure the vaccine is “conveniently located to families across the country, including vaccination clinics at doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers, and school- and community-based sites.”
If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off on the vaccine, then children could start getting the COVID-19 vaccine shots by next Wednesday, according to The New York Times.