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FDA finds Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective for elementary school children

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The Food and Drug Association (FDA) authorized the Pfizer vaccine for elementary school-aged children aged 5 to 11 on Tuesday. The decision comes after the agency reviewed data released by Pfizer on Friday, October 22, that showed a kid-sized, two-dose regimen of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and 90.7 percent effective against symptomatic illness from the virus in children ages 5 to 11 years of age.

Public health agencies and health experts said vaccinating children against COVID-19 protects them from symptomatic illness.

Thousands of pediatricians and primary care providers are ready to administer the vaccine if it is authorized for use, according to the White House.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will consider the safety and efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine for elementary school children in November.

In a new document posted ahead of a key meeting of the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisers, Pfizer says its vaccine is safe and 90.7 percent effective against symptomatic Covid-19 in children ages 5 to 11.

In the trial, which included around 2,000 children, there were three Covid-19 cases among the group that received the vaccine and 16 cases in the placebo group. In the trial, twice as many children received the vaccine as the placebo.

The documents are being posted ahead of a meeting scheduled for Tuesday of a committee of vaccine experts advising the FDA.

While children run a lower risk than older people of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, at least 637 people age 18 or under have died from the virus in the U.S., according to the CDC. Six million U.S. children been infected, 1 million of them since early September amid the spread of the more contagious delta variant, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.

With the delta variant so contagious, parents have a choice between getting their child vaccinated or hoping their case of COVID-19 isn’t serious, said William Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“That’s what’s at stake,” Hanage said. “Delta is so transmissible, it will find you.”

“COVID has also disrupted our kids’ lives. It’s made school harder, it’s disrupted their ability to see friends and family, it’s made youth sports more challenging,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told NBC. “Getting our kids vaccinated, we have the prospect of protecting them, but also getting all of those activities back that are so important to our children.”

The White House said thousands of pediatricians and primary care providers are ready to administer the vaccine to elementary school children if it is authorized for use.

More than 25,000 pediatricians and primary care providers have already signed on to dispense the vaccine to elementary school children, the White House said, in addition to the tens of thousands of drugstores that are already administering shots to adults.

Hundreds of school- and community-based clinics will also be funded and supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help speed the process. In addition to doctors’ offices, schools are likely be popular spots for the shots.

The FDA commissioner would then have to sign off on the shots, along with an advisory committee for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, scheduled to meet Nov. 2 and 3, and then the CDC director.

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