(CMR) Children 5 to 11 years old could start receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as early as next week following the Food and Drug Administration's authorization for its use on Friday.
The federal agency announced its approval on an emergency use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine advisory committee will meet to review the FDA's decision on November 2-3 and is expected to recommend it shortly after.
The FDA's decision comes after an advisory panel for the agency decided unanimously that the vaccine's benefits for children outweigh any potential risks.
“Vaccinating younger children against COVID-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy. Our comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of the data pertaining to the vaccine's safety and effectiveness should help assure parents and guardians that this vaccine meets our high standards,” said acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock in a press release.
Pfizer's vaccine was approved in May for children ages 12 to 15 on an emergency use basis. The pediatric-sized coronavirus vaccine is nearly 91% effective at preventing symptomatic infections in children 5 to 11 years old. The most common side effects reported were fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and chills.
The vaccine requires two doses that are administered three weeks apart and takes two weeks for complete protection to kick in.