The FDA has given emergency use authorization to Pfizer’s Covid 19 vaccine for use in children ages 5 to 11.
This marks the very first Covid vaccine to be authorized for use in children younger than 12 in the United States.
According to a recent CNN news report, the FDA voted 17-0 to recommend emergency use authorization for the vaccine.
There is, however, one difference between this vaccine and the vaccine authorized for adults.
The Pfizer vaccine that’s intended for those aged 12 and over contains a higher dose—30 micrograms to be exact. Whereas the dosage for children ages 5 to 11 is smaller, coming in at 10 micrograms.
Is The Pfizer Vaccine Effective For Children Ages 5 To 11?
According to Pfizer, the vaccine is said to provide more than 90% protection against symptomatic disease among children in this age group.
These stats come from data recorded during clinical trials.
Why Is The Pfizer Vaccine Dose Smaller For Children Ages 5 To 11?
The reason for why the vaccine doses are smaller for children in this age range is because Pfizer hopes that reducing the dose will minimize side effect risk while still providing enough of the vaccine to protect against Covid.
Does This Mean That Children Ages 5 To 11 Can Now Go Get The Vaccine?
Not quite yet.
The CDC’s vaccine advisers meet on November 2, 2021, to discuss whether to recommend the use of the vaccine among children in this age group.
The final decision for whether or not to use the vaccine, then, will pass to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director.
If Walensky signs off on it, then full emergency use authorization will be given to administer the smaller doses of the Pfizer vaccine to children ages 5 to 11.
Here’s a quote about the news from Dr. Lee Savio Beers, president of The American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Authorization of the vaccine for younger children is an important step in keeping them healthy and providing their families with peace of mind. The vaccine will make it safe for children to visit friends and family members, celebrate holiday gatherings, and to resume the normal childhood activities that they’ve missed during the pandemic…”
Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock also said the following in a statement:
“As a mother and a physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school staff, and children have been waiting for today’s authorization. Vaccinating younger children against COVID-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy…”
For now, the next phase of the process will take place on November 2, 2021, as the CDC votes on whether or not to recommend emergency use authorization.
But as of right now, the momentum for authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 looks very hopeful.
What we’re probably looking at is the final part of the authorization process, and a quick vaccine rollout for this age group can likely be expected.