A CDC advisory panel of independent experts voted Tuesday to recommend Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously, 14 to 0, in favor of vaccinating the cohort. It’s the second-to-last major regulatory step in the authorization process for a pediatric rollout. The recommendation will be passed to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Her sign-off and formal recommendations—which could come as early as Tuesday evening—will green-light the vaccination process at the state level. If Walensky makes the move, jabs could begin as soon as Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Pfizer has said that in clinical trials on young children, their two-dose vaccine was “safe, well tolerated, and showed robust neutralizing antibody responses.” Their jab, which has one-third the dose that older children and adults receive, was deemed 90.7 percent effective in protecting against symptomatic coronavirus. An FDA panel voted to recommend the vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds last Tuesday. The Biden administration’s pandemic-response coordinator, Jeffrey D. Zients, said that the government is prepared to launch a large-scale rollout of the vaccine as early as next week.