Children aged 5 to 11 could soon be eligible to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee Tuesday voted 17-0 with one abstention to recommend the vaccine for those younger children.
The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee made that decision, members said, because while children are less likely to die from COVID than adults, they can still become very ill and die from the virus, as well as spread it to others.
“We don’t want children to be dying from COVID, even if it is far fewer children than adults, and we don’t want them in the ICU,” said committee member Dr. Amanda Cohn of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the meeting.
Pfizer’s dose for those younger children are a third of what adults receive, the company said, and in clinical trials proved to be 90 percent effective at preventing symptomatic infection in those children.
The FDA is expected to make a final decision on whether to approve use of the Pfizer vaccine in those younger children within days, and if approved, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee is to meet next week to debate the matter.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will ultimately decide whether to approve the vaccine for younger children, and if she does, vaccinations could begin as early as next week, according to several news outlets.
The Biden administration has procured enough doses to vaccinate all 28 million 5- to 11-year-olds in the U.S., according to the White House.