The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Tuesday that the Pfizer -BioNTech vaccine is now authorized for elementary age children, aged five to 11.
The FDA reviewed data sent in by Pfizer on Friday, October 22, and it was determined that a two dose series of the vaccine shot for children was safe and effective. FDA vaccine advisers voted 17-0 (with one abstained) in favor of administering the vaccine for children.
In order to fully authorize giving the vaccine to this age group, the FDA and The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will hold a panel on November 2. If the CDC and the FDA are in favor, the vaccine can be distributed as early as next week.
It will be given in much smaller doses –– approximately one third less in strength than what is given to teens and adults. It is shown to be 90.7% effective against the virus for those in that age group.
“I think we certainly know that there are many children between five and 11 years of age who are susceptible to this disease who could very well be sick and are hospitalized or die from it,” Dr. Paul Offit of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a panelist for their Vaccine Education Center said.
Regulators from the FDA say that the benefits in children receiving the Pfizer vaccine outweigh any costs.