Health

Kids 5-11 can get COVID vaccine as CDC gives final clearance

For the first time, Americans under 12 will be able to get the protection of a kid-size version of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials on Tuesday gave the final signoff to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign.

The Food and Drug Administration already authorized the shots for children ages 5 to 11 — doses just a third of the amount given to teens and adults. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends who should receive FDA-cleared vaccines.

The announcement by CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky came only hours after an advisory panel unanimously decided Pfizer’s shots should be opened to the 28 million youngsters in that age group.

Millions of shots made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have already been shipped to states, doctors’ offices and pharmacies, to be ready for CDC’s decision.

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An influential advisory panel on Tuesday recommended kid-size doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, putting the U.S. on the brink of a major expansion of vaccinations. A final decision was expected within hours.

The Food and Drug Administration already has OK’d the kid-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 — and its advisers unanimously decided Pfizer’s shots should be opened to 28 million youngsters.

If the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, signs off as expected, it will mark the first opportunity for Americans under 12 to get the powerful protection of any COVID-19 vaccine.

“Today is a monumental day in the course of this pandemic,” Walensky told the advisory panel as it began its deliberations earlier Tuesday.

Written by LAURAN NEERGAARD and MIKE STOBBE (AP Medical Writers)

Categories: Health

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