WASHINGTON DC (AP/KDKA) — The Food and Drug Administration on Friday paved the way for children ages 5 to 11 to get Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
The FDA cleared kid-size doses — just a third of the amount given to teens and adults — for emergency use, and up to 28 million more American children could be eligible for vaccinations as early as next week.
READ MORE: FDA Advisers Endorse Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids Ages 5 To 11
One more regulatory hurdle remains: On Tuesday, advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will make more detailed recommendations on which youngsters should get vaccinated, with a final decision by the agency’s director expected shortly afterwards.
“With this vaccine kids can go back to something that’s better than being locked at home on remote schooling, not being able to see their friends,” said Dr. Kawsar Talaat of Johns Hopkins University. “The vaccine will protect them and also protect our communities.”
A Pittsburgh doctor says it’s one of the last hurdles in getting back to normal.
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“We looked at this very carefully and we focus a ton on maximizing safety and I feel this could be a big tool in protecting our children,” UPMC Children’s Hospital Clinical Director of Infectious Disease Dr. Andrew Nowalk said.
According to Dr. Nowalk, there are 28 million children who fit in this category. Across the country, 5- to 11-year-olds have the most cases per capita of any age range.
“Schools having difficulty with closures, kids missing school a ton. With the different policies, it’s been hard on parents a ton,” Dr. Nowalk said over Zoom.
A few countries have begun using other COVID-19 vaccines in children under 12, including China, which just began vaccinations for 3-year-olds. But many that use the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are watching the U.S. decision, and European regulators just began considering the companies’ kid-size doses.
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