Wednesday, May 18, 2022

WATCH LIVE: FDA Advisers Review COVID-19 Vaccines For Children Ages 5-11

U.S. health consultants are discussing whether Pfizer’s childhood doses of COVID-19 vaccine are safe for children 5-11 years old.

The FDA’s meeting on Tuesday is the first step towards expanding vaccinations to 28 million young children.

See the FDA meeting on the player above.

A study of primary school children found that Pfizer shots were almost 91% effective in preventing symptomatic infection, even though teens received only a third of the dose prescribed for teens and adults.

In a preliminary analysis last week, FDA observers said the protection “clearly outweighs” the risk of a very rare side effect in almost all pandemic scenarios.

MORE: What Parents Need to Know About Vaccinating Young Children Against COVID-19

FDA advisors are now reviewing this data to see if they agree.

If the FDA approves doses for children, there is one more step left: next week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will have to decide which young people should receive them.

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While children are at a lower risk of severe COVID-19 than older people, children aged 5 to 11 still face significant harm – including over 8,300 hospitalizations, about a third need intensive care, and nearly 100 deaths, said the FDA’s head of vaccination, Dr. Peter Marks told the advisory group.

In addition, “infections have led to the closure of many schools and disrupted the education and socialization of children,” he said.

“I want to acknowledge the fact that there are strong feelings in society” for and against childhood vaccinations, added Marx. “To be clear, today’s discussion will be about the scientific evidence presented, not the vaccine requirements that are left to other organizations outside the FDA.”

MORE: Which pediatricians prioritize Pfizer vaccination data for children aged 5-11

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Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are already recommended for everyone 12 and older, but pediatricians and many parents demand protection even for young children.

The highly contagious delta variant has caused an alarming rise in childhood infections – and families are frustrated with school quarantines and forced to forgo sleepovers and other childhood rites to keep the virus at bay.

The states are preparing to release hand injections in special orange-capped vials to distinguish them from adult vaccines once the government agrees.

To date, more than 25,000 pediatricians and other primary health care providers have signed up for vaccinations.

The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.

Nation World News Desk
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