After six hours of debate on Tuesday, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously approved Pfizer’s one-third strength COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11.
The panel is forwarding its recommendation to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, who is expected to give final approval. Walensky said vaccinating children is important to keep schools open during the winter.
The approval comes days after the Food and Drug Administration signed off on Pfizer's one-third dose for younger children.
The CDC has recorded about 8,300 hospitalizations in young kids since the start of the pandemic and 94 deaths in the 5 through 11 age group.
What happens next? The Biden administration started packing and shipping pediatric vaccines and needles even before the committee met. The government hopes to begin administering shots as early as Wednesday night in an effort to vaccinate children before the holidays.
The administration has purchased 115 million doses from Pfizer, more than enough to vaccinate the 28 million eligible kids in the United States.
Pfizer drastically updated its revenue projections on Tuesday. The company expects more than twice what it projected at the start of 2021 when the vaccine rollout began.
This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.