The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday backed the emergency use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine among kids ages 5-11.
First, the CDC’s vaccine advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend the approval. Hours later, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the recommendation, essentially opening the floodgates of vaccination for 28 million of the country’s youngest citizens.
“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes COVID-19,” Walensky says in a statement. “We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”
Earlier in the day, Walensky delivered a similar message to the CDC advisory panel.
“Today is a monumental day in the course of this pandemic and one that many of us have been very eager to see ever since your vote … recommending COVID-19 vaccination for those 16 and older,” Walensky told advisers.
“There are children in the second grade who have never experienced a ‘normal’ school year,” Walensky told the panel. “There are students in middle school who missed out on school sports and extracurricular activities. There are missed proms and homecoming dances … Pediatric vaccination has the power to help us change all of that.”
One panel member said eight of her nine grandchildren would be vaccinated by next week.
“We have one more vaccine that saves lives of children and we should be very confident to employ it,” Sarah Long, a professor of pediatrics at Drexel University, said during the meeting.
The agency’s approval mirrors the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval on Friday for the emergency use of a smaller dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for children in this age group.
These youngest Americans can now receive one-third of the