The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, announced on Tuesday that the agency has authorized Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine to be used on children aged five to 11 years old and will begin rollout immediately.
In a statement, Walensky said that science was leading the fight against the coronavirus infection and that the agency was able to take another major step in bolstering defenses against the virus. She said that the news will come as welcome news to parents who are eager to vaccinate their children against the deadly disease.
Pfizer Vaccine for Children
Walensky said that as a mother herself, she was encouraging parents to talk about their circumstances with their pediatricians, school nurses, or local pharmacists. She said that they should ask questions to learn more about the vaccine and why it was important to have their kids protected against the virus.
Prior to the authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to young children, a special federal advisory committee met to discuss the issue. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week authorized emergency use of the vaccine doses for kids, which would be given as kid doses, or one-third of the original dose given to adolescents and adults, Fox News reported.
Before voting in support of the authorization of Pfizer's vaccine for children aged five to 11 years, members of CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices debated for a long time. A professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Dr. Sarah Long, said that the approval of the vaccine was another way to protect young kids from the virus.
After the vote, Dr. Beth Bell, a clinical professor of global health at the University of Washington, said that there has been a lot of enthusiasm for the Pfizer vaccine to be used on a specific age group. However, the medical professional acknowledged that parents had legitimate concerns about the effects of the treatment on young kids.
Protection From the Virus
"We were all talking about how we're getting our kids and our grandkids vaccinated. But I think another point that we made to the American public is that we do understand that people have legitimate concerns and that they have lots of questions. We really encourage people to ask their providers, to visit the CDC website, to talk to their friends, their parents, and do what they need to do to feel comfortable with their decision," said Bell, CNN reported.
In response to the announcement, United States President Joe Biden has called the agency's decision a "turning point." The Democrat said in a statement that the authorization will allow parents to finally put an end to months of anxiously worrying about their children being victims of the coronavirus. Biden added the use of the vaccines on young kids will help prevent the spread of the infection.
The American Academy of Pediatrics welcomed the CDC's decision as its members are already starting to administer the vaccines to children within the age group. Authorities said that five to 11-year-old kids will receive two low doses that are administered three weeks apart, the Associated Press reported.