File photo Photograph:( AFP )
The United States can now start giving children aged 5-11 the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid vaccine, US health authorities said Tuesday as they gave final approval to this new phase of fighting the pandemic.
Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 injection received final approval from US health regulators on Tuesday, paving the way for a substantial extension of the country's vaccination campaign to include children as young as 5.
The Food and Drug Administration has previously approved the injections for children aged 5 to 11.
The dosages given to teenagers and adults are just a third of what is given to teens and adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on the other hand, makes explicit recommendations on who should receive FDA-approved vaccines.
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Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, made the news just hours after an advisory council unanimously recommended that Pfizer's vaccines should be made available to the 28 million children in that age bracket.
During a day of live-streamed deliberations, the CDC assembled a panel of independent experts to analyse the existing data on the state of the outbreak in children, the efficiency of Pfizer's vaccine, and its likely adverse effects.
Since the FDA approval, "there hasn't been a moment that teams have not been picking, packing and shipping vaccines," Jeff Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator, said Monday.
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"We are planning on some vaccinations towards the end of this week," he said, adding that the programme will be "really hitting full strength the week of November 8."
Last week, FDA officials debated whether every young kid required vaccination.
COVID-19-infected children are more likely to develop high-risk diseases, including obesity or diabetes.
However, otherwise healthy youngsters can get critically ill, and the CDC's advisors eventually advised the injections for all of them, including those who had already recovered from a COVID-19 infection.
(With inputs from agencies)