Mon, 06 Dec 2021

WASHINGTON D.C.: US health officials have notified states that they can now order doses of COVID-19 vaccines for younger children, even before they are authorized for use, establishing the foundations for the coming national COVID-19 vaccination campaign for children under 12.

Over the next three weeks, federal officials will discuss making available smaller-dose vaccinations to the 28 million American children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine is already being administered to those children from 12-years old throughout the country.

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent out a seven-page document to guide states on how to set up expanded vaccination programs.

The document also recommends that vaccinations be given at the offices of pediatricians and family-practice doctors, as well as at pharmacies, rural health clinics and federal health centers.

Covid-19, which has killed more than 720,000 Americans, has proven to be most dangerous to older adults, but some children are still at risk from severe illness. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 540 US children have died from COVID-19.

Health officials believe vaccinating children will also reduce the spread of Covid to vulnerable adults.

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, which have conducted the most extensive research on the use of vaccines on younger children, said a two-dose vaccine series, one-third of the strength of the version given to those over 12 years old, is safe and effective for children aged between 5 and 11.

An independent expert panel advising the Food and Drug Administration will publicly debate the evidence at a meeting in late October, and another expert panel advising the CDC will then assess the outcomes in early November, if the evidence is initially approved.

Meanwhile, Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said it is not yet clear how many people will have their younger children vaccinated.

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