The federal Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5 to 11 this morning, opening the door for vaccinations to begin.
Before that can happen advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet next week to discuss making further clinical recommendations, according to the FDA.
Clinical trials of the vaccine showed that the vaccine was 90.7% effective in preventing Covid-19 in children in children ages 5 to 11, according to the FDA.
“As a mother and a physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school staff, and children have been waiting for today’s authorization. Vaccinating younger children against Covid-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock. “Our comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of the data pertaining to the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness should help assure parents and guardians that this vaccine meets our high standards.”
The pediatric vaccine will be given in two doses 21 days apart, like the adult and adolescent doses. But the doses will only be 10 micrograms — or a third the amount of the adult dose.
California is prepared to begin vaccinating children as soon as the final approval comes in. State officials say they have met with officials at more than 1,000 school districts in anticipation of opening vaccine clinics on school campuses. California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly said he expects 1.2 million doses of the vaccine will be available for children in that age group.