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CDC Authorizes COVID-19 Vaccine for 5- to 11-Year-Olds

November 2, 2021 by Dan McCue
This October 2021, photo provided by Pfizer shows kid-size doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Puurs, Belgium. (Pfizer via AP, File)

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday night gave its formal approval for children ages 5-11 to receive Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. 

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the plan just hours after an advisory panel unanimously recommended the move.

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes COVID-19,” Walensky said in a statement. 

“We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” she continued. 

“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,” she said.

Tuesday’s developments dramatically expand the scope of the United States’ vaccination program, extending it to all 28 million children age 5-11.

“We have reached a turning point in our battle against COVID-19,” President Joe Biden said upon his return to the White House from climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

The CDC’s authorization “will allow parents to end months of anxious worrying about their kids, and reduce the extent to which children spread the virus to others. It is a major step forward for our nation in our fight to defeat the virus,” he said.

Biden said the administration has been preparing for the decision for several weeks, securing enough vaccine supply for every child in the United States, and beginning the process of packing and shipping out millions of pediatric vaccine doses.

“These doses — specially designed for these younger children — have started to arrive at thousands of locations across the country,” the president said.

“Parents will be able to bring their children to thousands of pharmacies, pediatrician’s offices, schools, and other sites to get vaccinated. Because of the groundwork we’ve laid, we can be confident that vaccinations for kids will be available, easy, and convenient,” Biden said.

As previously reported by The Well News, the Food and Drug Administration already approved smaller doses — about a third the size those given to adults — as safe and effective for the younger age group.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said Monday that with the CDC’s approval, the expanded vaccination program would be “up and running” starting the week of Nov. 8.

“Parents will be able to schedule appointments at convenient sites they know and trust to get their kids vaccinated,” Zients said.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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