CDC director signs off on Pfizer shot for kids 5-11

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, endorsed Nov. 2 the CDC vaccine advisory panel's recommendation that children ages 5 to 11 be vaccinated against COVID-19 with Pfizer's vaccine. The move means providers can begin vaccinating kids in the pediatric age group immediately. 

Dr. Walensky's endorsement makes Pfizer's COVID-19 shot available to about 28 million more people in the U.S. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously Nov. 2 to recommend the shot in children in the age group. 

"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," Dr. Walensky said in a news release. 

Distribution of pediatric vaccines across the U.S. started this week and is expected to ramp up to full capacity starting the week of Nov. 8, the CDC said in the news release. The White House Oct. 20 detailed its plan for vaccinating kids in the age group to prepare for authorization from the CDC and FDA. The vaccines will be available at thousands of pediatric healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers and more, the CDC said.

Clinical trials showed Pfizer's vaccine was roughly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in kids ages 5 to 11, and side effects were mild. The most common side effect was a sore arm. The vaccine's safety was studied in about 3,100 children ages 5 to 11, and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing clinical trial.

The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's shot in kids ages 5 to 11 Oct. 29. 


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