A panel of independent advisers for the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended on Oct. 26 the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to 11.
The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 17 to 0 with one abstention to recommend the vaccine for emergency use authorization for the age group.
The recommendation will head to the FDA and a final ruling is expected to come within a matter of weeks.
If authorized, the vaccine would become available for around 28 million children in the U.S., making nearly the entire U.S. population eligible for the shot.
The vaccine for the age group is a smaller dose than the one given to those aged 12 and older.
During the meeting, the experts determined if the risks of getting the age group vaccinated outweighed the potential benefits.
“It’s always nerve racking, I think, when you’re asked to make a decision for millions of children based on studies of only a few thousand children,” Dr. Paul Offit, a committee member and a vaccine researcher, said at the meeting.
“The question is, when do you know enough? And I think we certainly know that there are many children between five and 11 years of age who are susceptible to this disease who could very well be sick and are hospitalized or die from it,” Offit further said.
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