Atlanta (Georgia, US), Nov 3 (MNN) The CDC has approved of the recommendation for vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 against COVID-19 with Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine, it said on Wednesday.
The nod from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will expand vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the US in this age group and allow providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible.
The approval was given by CDC Director Rochelle P Walensky to the recommendation made by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
COVID-19 cases in children can result in hospitalisations, deaths, MIS-C (inflammatory syndromes) and long-term complications, such as “long COVID,” in which symptoms can linger for months. The spread of the Delta variant resulted in a surge of COVID-19 cases in children throughout the summer.
During a 6-week period in late June to mid-August, COVID-19 hospitalisations among children and adolescents increased fivefold. 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.
The CDC said that in clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm.
COVID-19 vaccines have undergone – and will continue to undergo – the most intensive safety monitoring in US history.
Vaccinating children will help protect them from getting COVID-19 and therefore reducing their risk of severe disease, hospitalisations, or developing long-term COVID-19 complications.
Getting children vaccinated can help protect them against COVID-19, as well as reduce disruptions to in-person learning and activities by helping curb community transmission.
Distribution of paediatric vaccinations across the country started this week, with plans to scale up to full capacity starting the week of November 8. Vaccines will be available at thousands of paediatric healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and more.
Dr Walensky said: “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. 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.”