The United States approved the Pfizer Covid vaccine for children aged five to eleven on Friday, paving the path for 28 million young Americans to get inoculated in the near future.
A high-level medical council advising the government recommended the shots this week, saying that the known advantages exceeded the risks of adverse effects.
Only a few other countries, like China, Chile, Cuba, and the United Arab Emirates, inoculate younger children with vaccines.
In a statement, acting Food and Drug Administration chief Janet Woodcock said, “As a mother and a physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school personnel, and children have been waiting for today’s authorization.”
“Vaccinating younger children against Covid-19 will help us go back to a more normal state.”
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convenes a panel on Tuesday to further review clinical recommendations, the vaccination distribution should begin in earnest.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech revealed this week that the US government has purchased an additional 50 million doses as part of its efforts to protect children, including those under the age of five.
In a clinical experiment with almost 2,000 participants, it was discovered that it was more than 90% efficient at preventing symptomatic disease.
The vaccine’s safety was also investigated in over 3,000 youngsters, with no major side effects found in the ongoing research.
The vaccine is given in two doses, three weeks apart, at a dose of 10 micrograms, which is a third of what is given to older age groups.
Severe Covid is more common in children than in adults, but it is not uncommon. Since the beginning of the epidemic, there have been 8,300 Covid hospitalizations of children aged five to eleven, with 146 deaths, according to the CDC.
More than 5,000 pediatric cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), an uncommon but life-threatening post-viral consequence, have been reported, with 46 deaths.