The agency moved quickly to approve the smaller shots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on immunization Practices recommends that children 5 to 11 years receive the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine.
According to a news release, the committee’s findings were endorsed by CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. The move expands the vaccine recommendations to nearly 28 million children in the age group. Physicians can begin vaccinating this cohort as soon as possible.
The release touts the robust safety monitoring the COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and highlights the fact that cases of the disease in children can have devastating and long-term effects.
Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes COVID-19,” Walensky says in the release. “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. 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.”
As previously reported, the pediatric shots will be one-third the size of those given to adults and teens. At least two months after the two-dose regimen, the vaccine proved to produce more neutralizing titers against the original strain of COVID-19 and the Delta variant than the larger doses did in teenagers.
The vaccine was shown to be 90.7 percent effective against COVID-19 at least seven days after the second dose.
The Biden administration has already set its sights on an all-out push for juvenile vaccination against COVID-19.
The Biden administration, as well as local health authorities will make the vaccine available to more than 25,000 pediatricians’ offices and other primary care sites.
“Pediatricians, and other doctors, are some of the most trusted sources for families when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines for children,” the White House says. “These providers will play a critical role in the nationwide effort to get children vaccinated.”
The administration will also be supplying vaccines to more than 100 children’s hospitals and health systems, tens of thousands of pharmacies, hundreds of schools and community-based clinics, and hundreds of community health centers and rural health clinics.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has already voiced its support for the approval, with President Sterling N. Ransone, Jr., MD, FAAFP saying that the benefits of the vaccine in the face of rising juvenile COVID-19 cases outweigh any potential risks for the population.
“Ensuring children have equitable access to a safe, effective vaccine is critical to ending this pandemic,” Ransone says in the release. “The AAFP urges federal, state, and local public health officials to ensure vaccines are swiftly distributed to primary care physicians. We applaud the FDA’s ongoing commitment to advancing evidence-based immunizations and treatments for COVID-19 and encourage families and their children to get vaccinated and continue to practice social distancing, mask wearing, and frequent handwashing. Every ounce of prevention—especially vaccination—helps us combat this virus.”