The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the last hurdle to using the Covid vaccines on young children, has given its OK. As expected, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Tuesday gave her blessing to the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years.
“As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated,” Dr. Walensky said Tuesday.
Last week, another top health official in the Biden Administration referred to her trusted status as a mother in recommending the vaccine for children:
“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 against COVID-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “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.”
The approval process went exactly as planned, with the FDA giving its approval quickly last Friday after its advisory panel gave the agency the thumbs up.
There are 28 million children between the ages of 5 to 11. The vast majority of them who get Covid experience the mildest of symptoms, although future variants of the virus could effect them differently. According to the FDA, 146 deaths have occurred due to Covid in this age group.
The shot for kids is given in two doses, three weeks apart, and it is a lower dose than the adult versions. The dosage is based on age, not on size.
The state of Alaska has ordered 33,000 pediatric vaccine doses.
But not everyone is onboard. Last week, at a summit in Anchorage, leading doctors from around the country took the contrarian point of view and warned Alaskans to not use this vaccine on children — at least not now.