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The Food and Drug Administration has already approved the shots for children aged 5 to 11 — doses that are less than a third of those given to adolescents and adults. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes formal recommendations for who should receive FDA-approved vaccines.
US health regulators awarded the final approval to Pfizer’s child-size COVID-19 injection on Tuesday, paving the way for a significant extension of the country’s immunisation campaign to children as young as five.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, made the news just hours after an advisory council unanimously recommended that Pfizer’s injections be available to the 28 million children in that age bracket.
The decision provides the first opportunity for children under the age of 12 in the United States to get the potent protection offered by any COVID-19 vaccination.
“As a mother, I encourage parents who have questions to speak with their paediatrician, school nurse, or neighbourhood pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of vaccination,” Walensky said in a statement Tuesday night.
Earlier in the day, she stated that while the danger of serious disease and mortality is smaller in young children than in adults, it exists — and that COVID-19 has had a major effect on children’s social, mental health, and scholastic development, including growing achievement gaps.
President Joe Biden referred to the decision as a ” turning point.”
“It will relieve parents of months of anxiety about their children and significantly minimise the extent to which children spread the illness,” he said in a statement. “This is a significant step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics applauded the decision as its members prepare to begin the first injections into little arms, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said might begin “as soon as possible.”
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