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According to the Associated Press, U.S. health officials have approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
The FDA had already authorized the use of these doses for kids ages 5 to 11. The doses have a third of the amount provided to teens and adults. Now, both a CDC advisory panel and the CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, have approved the use of the vaccine for children in that age group.
The CDC has indicated that the first injections for those in this younger category could begin “as soon as possible.”
The vaccine will operate similarly to the adult version, where 5-to-11-year-olds will receive two of the lower doses 3 weeks apart from one another. The shot will be administered using a smaller needle. The shots also come with orange caps, so it isn’t confused with the adult version of the vaccine, which features a purple cap. Pfizer has already began to ship millions of these doses to states, doctors’ offices, and pharmacies for use.
During the studies conducted by Pfizer, they found that the “kid-size vaccine is nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19.” The FDA examined more kids, reaching a total of over 3,000 who were vaccinated, and concluded the shots are safe.
According to the FDA studies, the younger kids experienced “similar or fewer reactions — such as sore arms, fever or achiness — than teens or young adults get after larger doses.” However, AP News shares that the study wasn’t large enough to detect any extremely rare side effects. AP shares that “Regulators ultimately decided the benefits from vaccination outweigh the potential that younger kids getting a smaller dose also might experience that rare risk.”
Pfizer is also in the process of testing vaccinations for preschoolers and babies with data expected to be obtained by the end of this year. Moderna has also been working to release vaccines for teens and younger children, although the FDA hasn’t cleared the use of the Moderna vaccine for those younger individuals yet.
We’ll keep an eye out for more updates.