HealthDay News — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory panel voted unanimously on Tuesday to recommend emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 years.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., is widely expected to sign off on the recommendation later Tuesday, essentially opening the floodgates of vaccination for 28 million of the country’s youngest citizens. “Today is a monumental day in the course of this pandemic and one that many of us have been very eager to see ever since your vote … recommending COVID-19 vaccination for those 16 and older,” Walensky told advisers at the start of the panel meeting, The Washington Post reported.
The agency’s approval mirrors the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval on Friday for the emergency use of a smaller dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children in this age group. These youngest Americans can now receive one-third of the adult dose, with two injections given three weeks apart.
Now, the Biden administration plans to roll out the vaccine through pediatricians’ offices, community clinics, and pharmacies will begin, as U.S. health officials hope to reassure hesitant parents that the jab will protect their children from COVID-19. More than 25,000 pediatric and family doctor clinics will provide vaccinations to children, along with tens of thousands of pharmacies, children’s hospitals, and community health centers, according to the White House plan.
The federal government has already bought enough vaccine to fully cover all 28 million American children aged 5 to 11 years, and it will be distributed in smaller packages of about 100 doses each to make things more manageable for doctors’ offices and community health centers, the White House said.