In the announcement on Tuesday, the CDC encouraged health providers to begin vaccinating the approximately 28 million children in the age group as soon as possible. The FDA already approved the vaccine last week, but the CDC recommends who should receive it.
“During a 6-week period in late June to mid-August, COVID-19 hospitalizations among children and adolescents increased fivefold,” the CDC’s statement reads. “Vaccination, along with other preventative measures, can protect children from COVID-19 using the safe and effective vaccines already recommended for use in adolescents and adults in the United States. Similar to what was seen in adult vaccine trials, vaccination was nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 5-11 years.”
Distribution of Pfizer’s children’s vaccine, which contains a third of the dosage given to teenagers and adults, will begin this week and is expected to “scale up to full capacity” by next week. According to the Los Angeles Times, the shot will have to undergo another review by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, but it is expected to be approved within another day or so.
“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes COVID-19,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walenksy said in a statement. “We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine. As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated.”
President Joe Biden also offered his support of the vaccine for the age group, saying in a statement: “A vaccine for children age 5 to 11 will allow us to build on the extraordinary progress we’ve made over the last nine months. Already, more than 78 percent of Americans age 12 and older have gotten at least one shot, including millions of teenagers — and the vaccines have proven to be incredibly safe and effective.”