Experts advising the Food and Drug Administration recommended that the agency authorize the Covid-19 vaccine from [Pfizer and BioNTech] for use in young children.
The panel of vaccine experts voted 17 to 0, with one abstention, endorsing the vaccine be permitted for children 5 years to 11 years of age and concluding that the benefits of the shot outweigh any risks.
The positive recommendation will likely soon lead to an expansion of the U.S. vaccination campaign to millions of young children.
The FDA is expected to decide in the coming days or weeks to authorize the shots for the young children, and U.S. health officials have said shots are likely to become available in November.
The panel is in favor of giving children within the age group one-third of the amount of the vaccine dose given to people who are 12 years of age and older, in the form of two shots spaced by three weeks.
“The committee’s recommendations on whether to authorize vaccines are not binding, but the F.D.A. typically follows them in the days after the vote. That will turn the matter over to the C.D.C., which has its own expert panel scheduled to weigh in next week,” The New York Times reported.
The news comes after the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said last week that she thinks kids should keep wearing face coverings in school even after they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccination.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue recommending children wear masks in school going into the winter months even if COVID-19 vaccines are approved for more school-age children, Dr. Walensky announced Wednesday,” Sinclair Media noted last week following a press conference.
“After we have authorization from FDA and recommendations from CDC, we will be working to scale up pediatric vaccination,” Walensky said. “That said, it will take some time. And as I just noted, as we head into these winter months, we know we cannot be complacent.”
The decision on whether or not to vaccinate children has been an intense topic around the country as politicians and officials push to introduce mandates for school-age children.
Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom announced on October 1st that his state would be the first to force eligible students in private and public schools to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be able to go to school in person.
According to KFI News in Los Angeles, “The governor is directing the California Department of Public Health to add the COVID vaccine to other vaccinations required for in-person learning.”
“We are all exhausted by this pandemic. We are all exhausted by this. And that is the purpose of this,” said Newsom when he announced the rule. “We hope this encourages folks to get vaccinated.”
“We have no trepidation, no hesitancy in encouraging local districts to move forward more expeditiously.”
The Los Angeles Times reported: “The mandate would take effect for grades 7 through 12 the semester following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the vaccine for children ages 12 and over, according to the governor’s office. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade would be phased in after the vaccine is formally approved for younger children.”
The Times added that “rare medical and religious exemptions would be available.”
Parents and teachers have pushed back against the existing and looming mandates across the state of California.
Last week, faculty and students at schools across the state of California staged walkouts in defiance of vaccine and testing requirements set to take effect.
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