The specialists argued that the benefits are more important than the risks when inoculating minors in a unanimous vote. But, of course, the control body is not obliged to follow the suggestion. Still, it does not usually ignore the word of infectologists.
A medical panel of US government advisers voted Tuesday to recommend authorization of Pfizer's covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, paving the way for younger children to receive their vaccinations in just a few weeks.
"It's pretty clear to me that the benefits outweigh the risk when I hear about children being admitted to the ICU, having long-term outcomes after their covid, and children dying," said Amanda Cohn of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which voted in favor. There were 17 votes in favor and one abstention.
A study of elementary school children found that Pfizer vaccines prevent symptomatic infection in 91% of cases. However, it is one-third of the dose that adolescents and adults receive.
Last week, in a preliminary analysis, Food and Drug Administration officials said the protection would "far outweigh" the risk of a highly unusual side effect in almost all pandemic scenarios.
The FDA will have to issue its own decision on the matter, which is expected on November 1. Later the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, in English) will have to scrutinize the immunization of this age group. EFE
While the risk of severe COVID-19 is lower in children than in adults, there have been cases among those aged five to 11, with more than 8,300 hospitalizations, a third of which required intensive care. And nearly 100 deaths, FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks told the advisory panel.
"The infections have caused the closure of many schools and disrupted the education and socialization of children," he added.
"I want to acknowledge the fact that there are strong feelings" in public for and against vaccination, Marks said. However, he added that the discussion would be on scientific data, "not on vaccination orders, which correspond to other agencies outside the FDA ."
Adult dosages from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are recommended for everyone 12 years and older. Still, pediatricians and many parents cry out for protection for children. The highly aggressive Delta variant has caused an alarming increase in pediatric infections. For their part, families are furious at school quarantines. They have to say no to parties and other childhood rituals to keep the virus out.
States are preparing to distribute the vaccines - in vials with an orange cap to distinguish them from adult doses - as soon as the government gives the green light. In addition, more than 25,000 pediatricians and other primary care providers have declared themselves vaccine providers.
Christmas will fully protect the first children if the FDA and CDC give the go-ahead.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has purchased enough child-size doses for the roughly 28 million children ages 5 to 11 in the country. If the vaccine is approved, millions of amounts will be shipped quickly across the country, along with child-size needles.
A Pfizer study followed 2,268 children of this age who were given two injections of placebo or a low-dose vaccine three weeks apart.
Each dose was one-third of the amount given to adolescents and adults.
In addition, young children who received the low-dose vaccines developed antibody levels against coronavirus as strong as adolescents and young adults who received normal-strength vaccines.