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Your Questions About the Coronavirus Vaccine in Children, Answered

Kids 5 and up are now eligible to get vaccinated

By Kevin Loria (Consumer Reports)

On November 2, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky issued the agency’s official recommendation for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 5 to 11, just hours after the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend the vaccine for this age group. The Food and Drug Administration had already authorized this vaccine for this age group on October 29, following the earlier recommendation of an FDA advisory panel.

Vaccines are now widely available for 5- to 11-year-olds.

“Today is a monumental day in the course of this pandemic,” Walensky said, while addressing the ACIP at the start of the November 2 meeting.

The FDA had already authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in children ages 12 to 15 in early May. As of December 2, 59.3 percent of 12- to 15-year-olds had received at least one vaccine dose, and 49.3 percent of this population was fully vaccinated, according to data from the CDC. Just 15.5 percent of 5- to 11-year-olds had received at least one vaccine dose, and 2.2 percent of this age group was fully vaccinated.

More than half of parents with children ages 5 to 11 are somewhat or very likely to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a nationally representative Consumer Reports survey of 2,057 adults conducted between November 5 and 15, just after vaccines were authorized for this age group.

“As a mother and a physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school staff, and children have been waiting for ... authorization,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, said in a press release October 29. “Vaccinating younger children against COVID-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy.”

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