The US Food and Drug Administration’s Independent Advisory Committee approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 for children ages 5-11.
Severe cases or deaths from COVID-19 are rare among younger children, but the FDA chief of vaccines, dr. Peter Marks told the panel on Tuesday that 1.9 million children aged 5 to 11 have tested positive and 8,300 have been hospitalized in the United States. Of those hospitalized, one-third needed intensive care and nearly 100 died.
Officials said they hope the adoption of the vaccine for children, whose doses will be as much as a third of those for adults, will help close a wide gap in the U.S. vaccine campaign that has worried parents, teachers and public health executives.
Regulators said vaccination could begin next week.
Last week, the White House said it had provided enough vaccines for 28 million children in the United States.
The FDA will make its decision in the coming days.
Subject to FDA approval, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) independent advisory committee is expected to consider the proposal next week.
Meanwhile, US-based pharmaceutical company Moderna said a clinical trial showed that a halved dose of its COVID-19 vaccine was safe for children ages 6 to 11./VOA
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