CDC panel recommends Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids 5-11, shots expected to roll out this week

Written by on November 2, 2021

A federal advisory committee unanimously really helpful Tuesday that children ages 5 to 11 obtain Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, setting the stage for mass vaccination of America’s elementary college kids. 

Kids on this age group may start getting photographs as quickly as this week, as soon as the director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention indicators off, as anticipated.   

Presidential adviser Jeffrey Zients mentioned Monday that the Biden administration ordered sufficient vaccine to cowl all 28 million American kids within the age group. The administration’s distribution program shall be “operating at full power” the week of Nov. 8, he mentioned.

Although the vaccines carry some threat for kids, their advantages are better, concluded the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, made up of vaccine and immune system specialists from universities and medical faculties throughout the nation.

Vaccines shall be accessible at 100 kids’s hospitals, short-term clinics locally and at faculties, in addition to pharmacies and pediatricians’ places of work. Pictures shall be free, at one-third the dose of the grownup vaccine and shall be delivered in two photographs at the least three weeks aside. 

Quite a lot ofskilled teams added their help Tuesday for childhood vaccination, together with the American Academy of Pediatrics,the American Medical Affiliation, the American Academy of Household Physicians, the Nationwide Affiliation of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and the Pediatric Infectious Illness Society.

In a number of small trials, Pfizer-BioNTech, which makes the vaccine, noticed no severe unwanted side effects related with the photographs.

It’s doubtless, committee members acknowledged, that some doubtlessly harmful unwanted side effects will turn into obvious as soon as the photographs are delivered to thousands and thousands of kids, simply as uncommon unwanted side effects not seen in medical trials of adults turned up with widespread vaccinations. 

“We have to acknowledge the unknown,” mentioned Dr. Matthew Daley, a committee member and senior investigator on the Institute for Well being Analysis at Kaiser Permanente Colorado in Aurora.

Daley mentioned he was extra involved concerning the threat of ready to vaccinate youngsters. “If we wait, we miss the possibility to forestall many circumstances of COVID-19 on this age group, and that features some very extreme circumstances.”

Data from the CDC means that vaccinations can stop 600,000 infections within the age group by March, together with a lot of hospitalizations and some deaths. 

Absolutely vaccinating 1 million kids within the age group would stop about 57,000 circumstances of COVID-19 and about 200 hospitalizations, the CDC mentioned.

“The information that was offered actually speaks volumes by way of the protection and effectiveness of the vaccine,” mentioned Dr. Pablo Sánchez, a professor of pediatrics at Nationwide Kids’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“Kids are dying, and we will cut back hospitalization and loss of life with this secure and efficient vaccine that can profit the group,” mentioned Dr. Oliver Brooks, chief medical officer for the Watts HealthCare Company in Los Angeles.

Mother and father who’ve issues concerning the photographs ought to converse with their pediatrician, CDC and committee members mentioned.

Child photographs Q and A: Everything to know about COVID-19 vaccine and children

The potential vaccine facet impact of largest concern is a swelling of the guts muscle, referred to as myocarditis, which has been seen significantly amongst younger males who obtained vaccine.

Out of each a million 16- and 17-year-old boys vaccinated, 69 have developed the situation, in contrast with two out of each million males of their 40s, government statistics show. None has died, and most circumstances seem like gentle with out long-term penalties.

Matthew Oster, a pediatric heart specialist at Kids’s Healthcare of Atlanta, mentioned he expects the facet impact shall be even rarer in kids.

Earlier than COVID-19, myocarditis was most frequent amongst adolescents and younger males most likely due to their comparatively excessive ranges of the hormone testosterone, Oster instructed the committee. Kids youthful than 12 usually have low ranges.

An infection with COVID-19 could cause myocarditis that seems to be extra severe than swelling seen with vaccination, he mentioned. 

Many kids who obtain the photographs will, like adults and youths, really feel unwanted side effects within the first 48 hours or so. The most typical unwanted side effects within the trials have been fatigue, complications, joint ache, ache on the injection web site and vomiting, nausea or diarrhea.

The CDC screens vaccine recipients, together with kids, for severe vaccine reactions by means of a number of totally different methods. One entails self-reporting of signs, one other is reported primarily by docs and two others gather information from hospitals, the CDC’s Dr. Tom Shimabukuro told the committee.

The Meals and Drug Administration has a separate vaccine surveillance system, as does the Division of Protection, which first recognized myocarditis as a threat amongst service members.

Rush is on: With vaccine orders placed, doctors, pharmacies prepare for a flood of young children

Final week, the Meals and Drug Administration licensed vaccines to be used on this age group after a signoff by an impartial group of vaccine specialists who decided that the advantages outweighed the dangers.

Of the three vaccines accessible to adults within the USA, solely Pfizer-BioNTech has accomplished research in minors. Moderna said Sunday that the FDA requested for extra details about its photographs in adolescents, which most likely will defer its authorization till January.

Johnson & Johnson is additional behind in its trials in adolescents and kids.

Usually, firms check vaccines in adults, then transfer down in age because the photographs are proved secure. Pfizer-BioNTech continues to check even youthful kids, down to six months of age.

Although absolutely accredited to be used in adults and older teenagers, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is allowed just for emergency use in kids and youthful adolescents. The collaborating firms will most likely request full authorization for these age teams subsequent 12 months, as soon as they’ve longer-term information and extra particulars on manufacturing. 

Vaccines are considerably extra controversial in kids than adolescents and adults, as a result of kids are much less more likely to endure extreme COVID-19 infections.

Nonetheless, 94 American children ages 5-11 have died from COVID-19 because the pandemic started – the eighth main reason behind loss of life on this age group – and about 8,300 have been hospitalized.

Though at decrease charges than adults, kids ages 5 to 11 can endure from lingering signs of COVID-19 infections, so-called lengthy COVID – together with months-long fatigue, ache, complications, insomnia and bother concentrating.

All kids, no matter age, can catch and move on COVID-19, one study confirmed.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is clearly efficient in kids 5-11, stopping greater than 90% of infections, according to a company-run study in about 2,500 children.

Questions stay concerning the effectiveness and security of the photographs due to the comparatively small variety of kids who’ve obtained them to this point – fewer than 3,500 throughout three company-run research. It isn’t clear how lengthy this safety towards COVID-19 will final or whether or not booster photographs shall be wanted.

Data from the CDC suggests that 9 kids would have wanted to be vaccinated to guard one in every of them from contracting COVID-19 in September throughout the peak of the final wave, and about 26 in the present day when charges are decrease. About 2,200 youngsters would have wanted safety six weeks in the past to forestall one hospitalization and about 8,200 extra lately. 

Kids who’re immunocompromised or have well being points resembling weight problems and metabolic illness are at greater threat for severe COVID-19 infections. Two-thirds of kids hospitalized for COVID-19 had preexisting well being situations, whereas one-third have been beforehand wholesome according to the CDC

The CDC’s suggestion for vaccination consists of all kids, no matter their underlying medical situations.

Childhood vaccinations will assist households wherein mother and father are preventing most cancers, mentioned Dr. Gwen Nichols, chief medical officer of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Vaccination will permit “kids to work together with extra freedom, together with with their mother and father and grandparents,” she mentioned. “That is significantly necessary for immunosuppressed sufferers, together with these with blood cancers who’ve been in an unattainable state of affairs with their youthful kids returning to highschool in-person.”

Kids of coloration have been hospitalized at thrice the speed of white kids, information reveals.

About 38% of American children have been infected with COVID-19, in keeping with information offered to the committee.

Kids who’ve already had COVID-19 will get some safety towards extreme illness however ought to nonetheless get vaccinated, in keeping with the advice, as a result of the photographs present extra constant safety than an infection.

An FDA analysis of infections offered to a special advisory committee final week discovered that the advantages of vaccination usually outweigh dangers amongst kids. If COVID-19 circumstances are extraordinarily low – lower than 10% of the charges seen in mid-September – the advantages of vaccination are much less clear, the report concluded.

Vaccines take about 5 weeks to return to full effectiveness, two weeks after the second shot, so mother and father won’t have time to offer vaccine safety within the face of a sudden outbreak or a fast-spreading new variant.

COVID-19 has already triggered considerably extra distress than different childhood ailments, CDC data showed. COVID-19 led to at the least thrice extra hospitalizations and deaths than hepatitis A, meningococcal illness, varicella, rubella and rotavirus did earlier than vaccines have been launched towards these ailments.

Dr. Katherine Poehling, a professor of pediatrics on the Wake Forest College of Medication in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, mentioned that info helped persuade her to strongly help COVID-19 vaccines for elementary college kids.

“We are able to now make these COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths vaccine preventable,” she mentioned.

Contact Karen Weintraub at

Well being and affected person security protection at USA TODAY is made potential partly by a grant from the Masimo Basis for Ethics, Innovation and Competitors in Healthcare. The Masimo Basis doesn’t present editorial enter.

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