The United States Food and Drug Administration gave a go signal to start giving COVID-19 vaccine shots from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE to younger kids on October 29, Friday. The approval will commence a roll-out of shots for kids aged five to eleven years old beginning as soon as possible.
Accordingly, corresponding agencies will begin vaccination efforts for kids in the given age range. In addition, Pfizer has now announced that it will start shipping out pediatric vials of the Coronavirus vaccine on Saturday to pharmacies, pediatrician offices, medical centers, and other distribution points. With the approval, over 28 million American children will now be open to the vaccine rollout.
Following the re-opening of face-to-face classes, some groups have expressed concern over possible surges in COVID-19 cases among children. In-person learning and some push-back to face mask mandates for kids have become a headline across news channels as two sides share their thoughts. The approval for vaccines among younger kids could help cut infection curves and ensure face-to-face class rollouts continue without hiccups.
The FDA-approved dose of the Pfizer vaccine will consist of a 10-microgram dose, significantly lower than the 30 micrograms given to those aged 12 and older. The dosage, however, should be sufficient, as experts have noted, after a panel of virology and health advisers convened and voted on the recommendation on Tuesday (October 26). In addition, as per the advisers, a lower dose could help mitigate any rare side effects of injections. This suggestion comes after paying attention to the rates of heart inflammation linked to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, most especially noted among younger men.
“We certainly hope that as people see children getting vaccinated, and being protected and being able to participate in activities without concern, that more people will get their kids vaccinated,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock expressed during a press conference. “And as we accumulate more experience with the vaccine, more comfort with the safety will occur.”
The Coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on globally as infections increase in certain parts of the world. Vaccination efforts are underway, but new strains and refusals to take the vaccine have slowed down progress. There have also been a reported number of allergic reactions and other unwanted incidences in small samples. As a result, companies in charge of the vaccines have made necessary changes and precautions to ensure that vaccine roll-outs continue in the safest manner possible.
Apart from the United States, other countries to allow vaccines for the same age group are China, Cuba, and the United Arab Emirates. Currently, the US stands at a 58% total vaccination rate, which is lower than other developed nations like the UK and France. Hesitations to the vaccine have been one of the primary reasons for the slower progress. “We certainly hope that as people see children getting vaccinated, and being protected and being able to participate in activities without concern, that more people will get their kids vaccinated,” adds Dr. Janet.
Another vaccine provider, Moderna, also released its report on data for vaccine efficacy among children ages six to eleven. It’s currently waiting on the regulatory decision on vaccine authorization for children between 12 and 17.