Now the decision is made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will recommend how to use boosters for the age group 5-11 years.
WASHINGTON – U.S. officials have authorized the introduction of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 for children ages 5-11 under an emergency use permit.
The The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the update Tuesday, the victory is celebrated by supporters of the vaccine, which seeks to protect the youngest in the country. Now the decision on whether to officially recommend a vaccine for this age group belongs to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A meeting of CDC scientific advisers is scheduled for Thursday.
Regular vaccination is 10 micrograms, which is the same dosage administered during the primary series of vaccines for this age group. Elderly patients receive higher doses when vaccinated.
Children as young as five have been allowed to do Pfizer injections since last year, but they have been unable to get boosters, even though their use has been expanded for most U.S. adults.
Anyone aged 5 and older can now receive the Pfizer vaccine booster five months after completing the initial set of two vaccinations.
“While it has mostly been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than in adults, the omicron wave has resulted in more children contracting the disease and being hospitalized, and children may also experience long-term effects, even after a mild illness, ”FDA Commissioner Robert M. Calif said in a statement,“ Vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent COVID-19 and its severe consequences, and it is safe. If your child is eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and has not yet received their main series, vaccination can help protect them from potentially serious consequences that may occur, such as hospitalization and death. ”
Everyone 12 years of age and older should have received one booster dose for best protection against the latest coronavirus options – and some people, including those 50 and older, may choose a second booster.
Comirnaty, the official name of the vaccine, is approved for full use in individuals over 16 years of age. Those under the age of 16 can still take the vaccine, although it is currently under emergency use.
Whether young children need additional vaccinations has been overshadowed by calls from parents to vaccinate even younger children, children under 5, the only group not yet eligible in the United States. Both Pfizer and rival Moderna are studying their vaccinations in the youngest children, and the FDA is expected to evaluate data from one or both companies next month.
For children from 5 to 11 years it is unclear how much demand for boosters. Only about 30% of this age group received the first two doses of Pfizer after they were vaccinated in November.
But in a small study, Pfizer found that the booster boosts the levels of antibodies that fight viruses in these children – including those that are able to fight omicron – the same jump that adults get from an extra shot.
Although the coronavirus is more dangerous to adults than children, adolescents can be seriously ill – and the CDC estimates that more than 350 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have died.
Adding public confusion, the CDC estimates that 3 out of 4 children in the U.S. of all ages have been infected with the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic – many of them during the winter wave of the omicron. However, health authorities are urging to vaccinate even people who have previously had COVID-19 to strengthen their defenses.
Vaccination may not always prevent milder infections, especially because Omicron and his siblings are better than some previous options at slipping these remedies. But health authorities agree that vaccinations continue to provide strong protection against the worst outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death.
COVID protection in all age groups appears to weaken within a few months of receiving the initial set of vaccines, declining somewhere in the 90% efficacy range to somewhere in the 60% range.
This news comes a day after the U.S. reached a grim milestone: 1 million deaths from COVID-19. While most deaths were in older Americans or immunocompromised Americans, and children tend to have less severe symptoms, health experts have long warned of “long-term COVID” and long-term effects of the virus on those who survived, including those who only get sick easily.