Children in the United States between the ages of five and 11 could begin receiving Covid-19 vaccinations as soon as next week following the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement Friday that Pfizer-BioNTech’s jab is safe and effective for elementary school-aged children and has been approved for emergency use for that age group.
About 28 million children will be eligible for the vaccine as long as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approves of the FDA’s emergency authorization, as the agency is expected to. Fifteen million doses are now ready to ship, according to the New York Times.
Children will receive one-third of the adult dose in two vaccinations administered three weeks apart.
George Washington University public health professor Dr. Leana Wen tweeted that the news will bring “relief” to parents across the country.
CDC data has shown that 8,300 children between the ages of five and 11 have been hospitalized with Covid-19 since the pandemic began and at least 170 have died of the disease.
Nearly 40% of children who have been hospitalized live below 200% of the federal poverty line, and more than half are children of color.
According to a poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation on Thursday, 27% of parents with children ages five to 11 said they would get their children vaccinated as soon as possible after the jabs hit pediatricians’ offices, community health centers, and pharmacies as early as next week. A third said they would wait to see how well the rollout goes for getting their child the shots.
The FDA announced the emergency authorization as the New York Times reported that cases among children are driving the current Covid-19 surge in the United Kingdom.
“If FDA/CDC approve, the U.S. will SOON have a way to avoid this same fate: vaccinating our kids,” said White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain.