The United States can now start giving children aged 5-11 the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid vaccine, US health authorities said Tuesday as they gave final approval to this new phase of fighting the pandemic.
Days after gaining authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, the vaccine was endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clearing the way for the vaccination of up to 28 million children.
Millions of shots made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have already been shipped to states, doctors’ offices and pharmacies, to be ready for CDC’s decision.
The federal government’s vaccination distribution program for children ages 5 to 11 will be fully operational on Monday, Nov. 8, the White House announced earlier on Monday.
States, pharmacies and community centers have already been asked to place their orders for vaccines and create distribution plans.
Since the FDA approval, “there hasn’t been a moment that teams have not been picking, packing and shipping vaccines,” Jeff Zients, the White House pandemic coordinator, said Monday.
“We are planning on some vaccinations towards the end of this week,” he said, adding that the program will be “really hitting full strength the week of November 8.”
An influential advisory panel on Tuesday recommended kid-size doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for all children ages 5 to 11, putting the U.S. on the brink of a major expansion of vaccinations.
(With inputs from agencies)