The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 5-11 Friday.
Tuesday, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 17-0, with one abstention, to recommend the vaccine’s approval. The shot, which will be offered to young kids at one-third the dose of those aged 12 and over, will now be available to nearly 30 million kids who were not previously eligible to get vaccinated.
We expect the FDA and CDC’s decision on Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11 in the next few weeks and have put together a plan to ensure that vaccines for this age group are available, easy & convenient, should the FDA & CDC authorize the vaccine. https://t.co/o4eX8N2F8e
— White House COVID-19 Response Team (@WHCOVIDResponse) October 20, 2021
Members of VRBPAC debated the risk of developing myocarditis after vaccination versus the protection from COVID-19 offered by the shot and determined that children were more likely to develop the condition from the virus itself than the vaccine against it. Other concerns discussed by the panel included the best length of time to wait between the first and second dose of the vaccine, and whether or not the general population of children in the United States truly needed a vaccination to be protected from the pandemic.
Now that the vaccine has been approved by the FDA, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet next week to recommend use of the vaccine. The FDA approval applies to all kids aged 5-11, but the CDC may choose to make a more targeted recommendation for kids who are at high-risk of COVID-19 due to an underlying health condition or other complicating factor. (RELATED: CDC Officially Recommends Moderna, Johnson & Johnson Booster Vaccines)
COVID-19 has posed a minimal risk to kids so far throughout the pandemic. Only 167 kids aged 5-11 have died of the virus since the pandemic began according to the CDC, representing around 0.02% of total COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Data shows that even unvaccinated children are dying from the virus at a lower rate than fully vaccinated senior citizens.