'Today Is a Monumental Day In the Course of This Pandemic'

CDC director recommends child-size Pfizer shots for all kids ages 5 to 11
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 2, 2021 5:10 PM CDT
Updated Nov 2, 2021 7:34 PM CDT
CDC Panel Recommends COVID Shots for All Kids 5 to 11
This October 2021, photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Puurs, Belgium.   (Pfizer via AP, File)

Update: This file was updated after Walensky signed off on the recommendation. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed off on kid-sized doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 Tuesday, clearing the way for a major expansion of the vaccination campaign to all 28 million youngsters in that age group, the AP reports. The Food and Drug Administration had already OK’d the child-size doses—just a third of the amount given to teens and adults—as safe and effective for the younger age group. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally recommends who should receive FDA-cleared vaccines.

Earlier Tuesday, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 14-0 to recommend the shots, the Hill reports. "Today is a monumental day in the course of this pandemic," Walensky told the advisory panel as it began its deliberations earlier Tuesday. She said while the risk of severe disease and death is lower in young children than adults, it is real—and that COVID-19 has had a profound social, mental health, and educational impact on youngsters, including widening disparities in learning. "There are children in the second grade who have never experienced a normal school year," Walensky said. "Pediatric vaccination has the power to help us change all of that."

Pediatricians in parts of the country are ready to start getting shots into little arms, as Pfizer already has begun shipping millions of doses to states, doctors' offices, and pharmacies. Several CDC panelists who have cared for hospitalized youngsters said they want parents with questions to know the shots are safe and far better than gambling their child will escape a coronavirus infection. "I have vaccinated my kids," said CDC adviser Dr. Helen Keipp Talbot of Vanderbilt University, saying she wouldn't recommend something for other families unless she was comfortable with it for her own. "We have seen the devastation of this disease."

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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