CDC Panel Recommends Pfizer Vaccine for Children Ages 5 to 11

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Boxes of pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, with their telltale orangish  markings.
Credit...Pfizer

Apoorva Mandavilli

  • Nov. 2, 2021Updated 5:27 p.m. ET

Scientific advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention connected Tuesday unanimously endorsed the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for usage successful children aged 5 done 11 successful the United States, a determination that volition buttress defenses against a imaginable surge arsenic wintertime arrives and easiness the worries of tens of millions of pandemic-weary parents.

If Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the agency’s director, formally accepts the recommendation, arsenic expected, inoculations for children aged 5 to 11 could statesman arsenic soon arsenic this week. The Food and Drug Administration connected Friday authorized the vaccine for exigency usage successful younger children pursuing a near-unanimous recommendation from its ain advisers past week.

Dr. Walensky made a little quality arsenic the gathering began, noting that the time was “one that galore of america person been precise anxious to see.”

Still, she cautioned that vaccinating children is conscionable 1 important portion to the puzzle. “It is important that we besides proceed to vaccinate arsenic galore adults arsenic imaginable to supply extortion to children successful the community,” she said, including those children younger than property 5 who are not yet eligible for vaccination.

Anticipating the agency’s decision, the Biden medication has enlisted much than 20,000 pediatricians, household doctors and pharmacies to administer the vaccines.

About 15 cardinal doses are already being packed with adust ice, loaded into tiny specialized containers and shipped via airplanes and trucks to vaccination sites crossed the country, national officials said connected Monday. Several cardinal pediatric doses should beryllium disposable successful the adjacent fewer days, but the vaccination programme for the property radical will lone commencement “running astatine afloat strength” successful the 2nd week of November, said Jeffrey D. Zients, the administration’s pandemic effect coordinator.

The younger children volition person one-third of the dose authorized for those 12 and older, delivered by smaller needles and stored successful smaller vials to debar a mix-up with big doses.

The C.D.C.’s guidelines for the vaccine’s usage are not legally binding, but heavy power the aesculapian community’s practice. An endorsement would beryllium timely, arsenic Americans statesman to program for the wintertime holidays.

Although cases successful the United States person been falling steadily for weeks, experts pass that indoor household gatherings during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays whitethorn nonstop the rates soaring again, adjacent if not to the horrific highs of past year. Airlines are preparing for what whitethorn beryllium the busiest question season since the commencement of the pandemic.

Vaccinations would easiness the minds of galore parents who are anxious to support their young children and frustrated by predominant schoolhouse shutdowns and quarantines. Outbreaks of the coronavirus forced 2,000 schools to adjacent betwixt aboriginal August and October. Every cardinal doses fixed to children aged 5 to 11 would forestall astir 58,000 cases and 226 hospitalizations successful that property group, according to a C.D.C. estimate.

The C.D.C.’s advisers besides evaluated accusation connected the vaccine’s risks. There was capable information to reason that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks, adjacent without much semipermanent information data, said Dr. Matthew Daley, a elder researcher astatine Kaiser Permanente Colorado. “If we wait, we miss the accidental to forestall galore cases of Covid-19 successful this property group, and that includes immoderate precise terrible cases.”

Still, galore parents are hesitant to immunize their children, citing concerns astir semipermanent information of the vaccine oregon due to the fact that they fearfulness that the vaccine is much harmful than Covid-19.

About 3 successful 10 parents accidental they volition definitely not get the vaccine for their 5- to 11-year-old children, according to the astir caller canvass by the Kaiser Family Foundation. A akin percent of parents said that they would immunize their children “right away,” a fig that has hardly budged since akin polls successful July and September.

What to Know About Covid-19 Booster Shots

The F.D.A. has authorized booster shots for millions of recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna recipients who are eligible for a booster see radical 65 and older, and younger adults astatine precocious hazard of terrible Covid-19 due to the fact that of aesculapian conditions oregon wherever they work. Eligible Pfizer and Moderna recipients tin get a booster astatine slightest six months aft their 2nd dose. All Johnson & Johnson recipients volition beryllium eligible for a 2nd changeable astatine slightest 2 months aft the first.

Yes. The F.D.A. has updated its authorizations to let aesculapian providers to boost radical with a antithetic vaccine than the 1 they initially received, a strategy known arsenic “mix and match.” Whether you received Moderna, Johnson & Johnson oregon Pfizer-BioNTech, you whitethorn person a booster of immoderate different vaccine. Regulators person not recommended immoderate 1 vaccine implicit different arsenic a booster. They person besides remained soundless connected whether it is preferable to instrumentality with the aforesaid vaccine erstwhile possible.

The C.D.C. has said the conditions that suffice a idiosyncratic for a booster changeable include: hypertension and bosom disease; diabetes oregon obesity; crab oregon humor disorders; weakened immune system; chronic lung, kidney oregon liver disease; dementia and definite disabilities. Pregnant women and existent and erstwhile smokers are besides eligible.

The F.D.A. authorized boosters for workers whose jobs enactment them astatine precocious hazard of vulnerability to perchance infectious people. The C.D.C. says that radical includes: exigency aesculapian workers; acquisition workers; nutrient and agriculture workers; manufacturing workers; corrections workers; U.S. Postal Service workers; nationalist transit workers; market store workers.

Yes. The C.D.C. says the Covid vaccine whitethorn beryllium administered without respect to the timing of different vaccines, and galore pharmacy sites are allowing radical to docket a flu changeable astatine the aforesaid clip arsenic a booster dose.

Before the F.D.A. advisers met past week, they were bombarded by thousands of emails spouting misinformation astir the vaccine and asking the experts to ballot against it. One communal objection to the vaccine holds that children seldom get sick from the virus, and the vaccine’s imaginable harms whitethorn outweigh its benefits.

But portion children are overmuch little apt than adults to go earnestly sick from the virus, their hazard is not zero. Many children were infected with the coronavirus successful the astir caller surge, and children ages 5 done 11 accounted for astir 11 percent of each cases the week of Oct. 10, according to information collected by the C.D.C.

Since the opening of the pandemic, much than 8,300 children ages 5 to 11 person been hospitalized with Covid, and astatine slightest 94 person died. About one-third of the hospitalized children were sick capable to beryllium admitted to intensive attraction units.

Experts connected the C.D.C. sheet spent a important information of their clip deliberating a uncommon broadside effect called myocarditis, inflammation of the heart. The hazard is highest successful males 16 to 29 years, but adjacent successful that group, a bulk retrieve quickly. The hazard appears to diminution successful children 12 to 15, and is expected to beryllium adjacent little successful younger children, experts said astatine the meeting. Covid is far much likely to origin myocarditis, and a much terrible mentation of it, studies person shown.

The C.D.C. has not definitively linked immoderate deaths from myocarditis to vaccination, said Dr. Matthew Oster, a C.D.C. idiosyncratic who presented myocarditis information astatine the meeting. “Getting Covid I deliberation is overmuch riskier to the bosom than this vaccine, nary substance what property oregon sex,” helium said.

Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.

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