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U.S. FDA authorizes first COVID-19 shot for young kids

by Meso Ejiofor
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The Food and Drug Administration on Friday, 29th October authorized the use of Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, a move that will make the shots available to 28 million kids in the U.S, Oyogist.com reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must sign off before shots can be distributed.

It’s scheduled an advisory committee meeting to review the pediatric doses next week and is expected to swiftly clear them for public distribution immediately thereafter.

“As a mother and a physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school staff, and children have been waiting for today’s authorization. Vaccinating younger children’s Vaccinating younger children against COVID-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy,” acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement.

The FDA clearance – which was expected – came after the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to back a smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine for young children.

The company said its low-dose vaccine for kids, which is a third of the dosage given to adults, is more than 90% effective in preventing symptomatic infection.

It also said the shots were well tolerated in young children, producing side effects comparable with those seen in a study of people ages 16 to 25.

Many parents say they are anxious to get their kids vaccinated with schools now open across the U.S. and the delta variant of the coronavirus driving a surge in children’s cases.

As of Oct. 21, nearly 6.3 million children have tested positive for Covid since the onset of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, though health experts say the number is likely much higher. Covid-19 is the eighth-highest killer of kids ages 5 to 11 over the past year, a CDC official told the FDA committee Tuesday.

As of Oct. 17, 691 deaths from Covid have been reported in the U.S. in kids under age 18, with 146 deaths in the 5 through 11 years age group, the FDA said Friday.

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