CDC approves Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11

<p><p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds late on Tuesday. </p></p><p><p>The move came shortly after the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice unanimously approved the vaccine for children.</p></p><p><p>This means about 28 million kids nationwide became eligible for the vaccine. Pediatric vaccines could be available as soon as this week or next week, depending on supply, according to the CDC.</p></p><p><p>The Washington Department of Health and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup will both need to approve the vaccine for administration to begin in the state, which is expected to happen this week. </p></p><p><p>The state has already ordered 230,000 doses of the two-dose vaccine for kids. Pediatricians, health clinics and some pharmacies will offer the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine.</p></p><p><p>The Pfizer vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds is a smaller dose than what is administered to those 12 and older, and it will be administered in two doses three weeks apart.</p></p><p><p>Both the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC have reviewed the safety data of Pfizer’s clinical trial and determined the risks of COVID for children continue to outweigh any risks associated with the vaccine.</p></p><p><p>The pediatric vaccine did not result in any severe side effects in the clinical trial, which will continue to track vaccine recipients.</p></p><p><p>COVID-19, while typically less severe in children, has caused hospitalization and even some deaths. So far, 94 children nationwide in the 5-to-11 age group have died from the virus, and more than 8,000 children in that age group have been hospitalized from the virus through mid-October.</p></p><p><p>Multi-inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 in children is most common in this age group as well.</p></p><p><p>From October 2020 to October 2021, COVID-19 accounted for enough deaths in this population to be the eighth-leading cause of death, <a href=”https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meetings/downloads/slides-2021-11-2-3/03-COVID-Jefferson-508.pdf” target=”_blank”>according to data presented</a> to the ACIP today.</p></p><p><p>Regulators and scientists agreed that the risks of severe illness, hospitalization or other complications to children or vulnerable people around them make it important to vaccinate children against the virus.</p></p><p><p>“We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated.”</p></p><p><p>COVID vaccines for children will help accelerate the declining COVID-19 case rates nationwide by about 8%, <a href=”https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meetings/downloads/slides-2021-11-2-3/08-COVID-Oliver-508.pdf” target=”_blank”>according to models shown to ACIP Tuesday</a>. While vaccinating this age group does not completely eliminate the possibility of a new variant emerging, it would dampen it.</p></p><p><p>The vaccines could not come sooner for schools that have seen more cases and outbreaks in the past two months in Washington state than any time in the pandemic.</p></p><p><p>Several statewide medical organizations support use of the vaccine in children, including the Washington State Medical Association, Washington Academy of Family Physicians and the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.</p></p><p><p>Health officials encourage parents to speak with their family physician or pediatrician if they have questions about the vaccine.</p></p><p><p>“Vaccinations against COVID-19 are the best strategy to protect our kids now and well into the future,” Dr. Angela Sparks, president of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians, said in a news release. “The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is incredibly effective at preventing infections, which will make our kids, as well as other vulnerable populations, safer. Side effects are almost always mild, and the risk of adverse reactions far outweighs the risk posed by COVID-19.”</p></p><p><h3>Here’s a look at local numbers:</h3></p><p><p>The Spokane Regional Health District reported 169 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and additional deaths due to a backlog in data the past few months.</p></p><p><p>There have been 978 deaths due to COVID-19 in Spokane County residents. The district is updating their data to include many deaths that occurred in September and October in the county.</p></p><p><p>There are 146 people hospitalized with the virus in Spokane.</p></p><p><p>The Panhandle Health District reported 190 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and no additional deaths.</p></p><p><p>There are 148 Panhandle residents hospitalized with the virus.</p></p>