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.
Days after gaining authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, the vaccine was endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clearing the way for the vaccination of up to 28 million children.
The government was well ahead of the decision, procuring enough doses for the children in the 5-11 age group and beginning to ship them across the country.
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.
“We are planning on some vaccinations towards the end of this week,” he said, adding that the program will be “really hitting full strength the week of November 8.”
The CDC had convened a panel of independent scientists on Tuesday to review the available data on the status of the outbreak in children, the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine, and its possible side effects during a day of live-streamed discussions.
(Inputs from agencies)