On Tuesday, US Health officials granted a final green flag to Pfizer’s kid-size COVID-19 shot, thus expanding the country’s vaccination drive.
The announcement by CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky came just hours after an advisory panel unanimously decided Pfizer’s shots should be opened to the 28 million youngsters in that age group. The decision marks the first opportunity for Americans under 12 to get the powerful protection of any COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics welcomed the CDC’s decision as its members get ready to start the first injections into little arms, which the CDC said could begin as soon as possible.
Pfizer’s study of 2,268 youngsters found the kid-size vaccine is nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 — based on 16 diagnoses among kids given dummy shots compared to just three who got the real vaccination.
The FDA examined more children, a total of 3,100 who were vaccinated, in concluding the shots are safe. The younger children experienced similar or fewer reactions — such as sore arms, fever or achiness — than teens or young adults get after larger doses.
The 5- to 11-year-olds will receive two low doses, three weeks apart, of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech — the same schedule as everyone else, but using a smaller needle. Pfizer over the weekend began shipping millions of the pediatric shots to states, doctors’ offices and pharmacies in orange caps, to avoid mix-ups with purple-capped vials of adult vaccine.