The FDA has announced that the Pfizer vaccine for young kids appears highly effective in elementary school children, and caused no unexpected safety issues. The news comes as the U.S. weighs beginning to vaccinate younger children.
The FDA made the announcement after they shared its analysis of Pfizer’s data ahead of a public meeting next week, to debate whether the shots are ready for the nation’s roughly 28 million children between the ages of 5 and 11.
The agency will ask a panel of outside vaccine experts to vote on that question. This also comes after the Delta variant of the coronavirus had been infecting more and more teens and children in the St. Louis area over the summer and up and until last month.
At the beginning of the pandemic, kids only made up less than five percent of COVID-19 cases. Now they account for almost 20%.
According to the Missouri Department of Health, the number of cases in children ages 0 to 9 years old is more than three-thousand. And in children aged 10 to 19, the number of cases is more than 13-thousand.
In their analysis, FDA scientists concluded that in almost every scenario the vaccine’s benefit for preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19 would outweigh any serious potential side effects in children. But agency reviewers stopped short of calling for Pfizer’s shot to be authorized.
Nearly 6.2 million children have been infected with the coronavirus, more than 1.1 million in the last six weeks as the delta variant surged, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If the vaccine is cleared, millions of doses will be promptly shipped around the country, along with kid-size needles.