COLORADO SPRINGS — Children as young as 5 can now receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a recommendation for an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old.
"We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine," Walenksy said.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 14-0 Tuesday to allow a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children.
The Pfizer vaccine has already been fully approved for people aged 16 and up and is available for adolescents aged 12 to 15 under emergency use authorization.
During a briefing of the White House COVID-19 response team Monday, coordinator Jeff Zients said that the Biden administration has already begun the process of shipping doses for children to doctor's offices and hospitals across the country. Officials say 15 million doses will be made available immediately upon approval.
The CDPHE already placed pre-orders with the CDC, totaling 171,000 doses. Just like the Pfizer vaccine for adults and older children, the vaccine for ages 5-11 is two shots, three weeks apart. The CDPHE said the vaccine will also be available at pharmacies, local public health clinics and school-based health clinics.
On Friday evening, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said:
Finally, we have full federal approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children. Now our youngest Coloradans can finally have the protection they need and deserve to stay safe from the COVID-19 virus. By getting this shot, our kids can enjoy in-person learning with their teachers and classmates without fear of getting sick. Our kids can go back to being kids! I can’t tell you enough what a relief this is as a parent of two young children who are now eligible to get their vaccine. I thank CDC Director Walensky and the FDA for their work in vetting this safe, effective vaccine for our nation’s children. Colorado stands ready to swiftly distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to kids across all four corners of our state, ensuring equitable distribution and widespread access to every child in need of the lifesaving vaccine.
During the extensive trial process, thousands of children who were given the vaccine were studied and tested. Children's Hospital Colorado held a local trial for child vaccinations. Those findings came back with positives and negatives.
For instance, one side effect that came out was myocarditis which causes inflammation of the heart. These cases were very mild and quickly resolved. Pfizer's vaccine is also a third of the dose adults would get.
"No corners were cut. The studies were thorough and we know that vaccines work," said Dr. Kitonga Kiminyo to our news partners, an infectious disease expert.
According to the CDC, 6.3 million children have tested positive since the start of the pandemic, and there have been nearly 700 deaths in kids under the age of 18.
Parents with 11-year-olds may be wondering if they should wait until they are 12 to get their child the stronger dose. Doctors say parents don't need to do that. The vaccine is based on the maturity of your child's immune system. Not their age.