A group of U.S. health advisors on Tuesday approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children, bringing the U.S. closer to vaccinating children ages 5-11.
An FDA advisory panel unanimously voted with one abstention that the benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 in this age group outweigh any potential risks, including a heart-related side effect, which is very rare in adolescents and young adults who are suffering greatly. higher dose.
The FDA is not bound by the panel’s recommendations and is expected to make its own decision within days.
If the FDA approves doses for children, there is one more step left: next week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have to decide whether to recommend vaccines and which young people should receive them.
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While children are at a lower risk of severe COVID-19 than older people, children aged 5 to 11 still face serious illnesses – including more than 8,300 hospitalizations, about a third in need of intensive care and nearly 100 deaths.
The dose for young children is only one third of the Pfizer dose already recommended for everyone 12 years of age and older. Moderna is also studying a vaccine for young children.