Covid: US approves Pfizer vaccine for children aged five to 11

US health officials have given the final sign-off to Pfizer’s child-size Covid-19 shot, a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign.
US health officials have given the final sign-off to Pfizer’s child-size Covid-19 shot, a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign.

The move means up to 28 million youngsters in that age group could receive a Covid jab

Published

US health officials have given the final sign-off to Pfizer’s child-size Covid-19 shot, a major expansion of the nation’s vaccination campaign.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already authorised the shots for children aged five to 11 – doses just a third of the amount given to teenagers and adults.

But the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends who should receive FDA-cleared vaccines.

The announcement by CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky came only hours after an advisory panel unanimously decided Pfizer’s shots should be opened to the 28 million youngsters in that age group.

Millions of shots made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have already been shipped to states, doctors’ offices and pharmacies to be ready for the CDC’s decision.

Earlier this month, Moderna said a low dose of its jab was safe and appears to work in six to 11-year-olds. Preliminary results showed vaccinated children developed virus-fighting antibodies similar to levels that young adults produce after full-strength shots, Moderna said in a press release.

The study involved 4,753 children aged six to 11, who got either the vaccine or dummy shots. Moderna said that like adults, the vaccinated youngsters had temporary side effects including fatigue, headache, fever and injection site pain.

The study was too small to spot any extremely rare side effects, such as heart inflammation that sometimes occurs after either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, mostly among young men.

Moderna released no further details and has not submitted its data to a scientific journal but said it plans to share the interim results with the FDA and global regulators soon.