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FDA advisory committee approves Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 5-to-11-year-olds

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 7:31 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted Tuesday to endorse kid-size doses of Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 shot moving the U.S. one step closer to vaccinating millions more children.

The FDA panel’s decision is just one step in a four-step process.

Pfizer’s COVID shot will be the first pediatric COVID vaccine. Doctors at the Jefferson County Department of Health are hopeful this can help in the fight against COVID-19.

An advisory panel at the Food and Drug Administration decided Tuesday to move forward with authorizing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 years old.

It’s the first step toward making pediatric COVID vaccines available.

“That’s really important because right now, children aged 5 to 11 make up about a fourth of our current COVID cases in the United States and so getting those children immunized will help us decrease the amount of COVID circulating within our communities,” said Child Health Medical Director for JCDH, Dr. Khalilah Brown.

The full FDA is expected to issue an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine within a few days of Tuesday’s vote.

Step three in the process involves the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

They will meet next Tuesday to review the vaccine’s safety and efficacy before the CDC gives final approval.

“I’m not going to say it’s the silver bullet to getting us out of the pandemic because we do still have a good ways to go in both Jefferson County and Alabama in getting those who are already approved vaccinated, but it is a good step because now we have another large portion of our community that would be eligible for the vaccine,” Dr. Brown explained.

Health departments across the state, including JCDH have already started pre-ordering vials of the pediatric vaccine and kids ages 5 to 11 could start rolling up their sleeves as early as next week.

“The vaccine is proven to be safe and effective. It will help us keep our children healthy and safe in schools, help them get back to a normal life after 20 months of living through this pandemic, especially around their mental health, their social well-being,” Dr. Brown said.

Dr. Brown said once the vaccine is fully approved for this age group, parents and caregivers will be able to make appointments to get it at the health department.

She also encourages them to speak with their own health care providers about when or they’ll have the vaccine available.

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