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Kids 5 to 11 Are Now Eligible to Get Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine

“Over the past nine months, hundreds of millions of people ages 12 and older from around the world have received our COVID-19 vaccine. We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population.”
ByNehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Updated
November 3, 2021
women helps child put on face mask before going outside
Image: Getty Images

Kids aged 5 to 11 are now eligible to get the COVID-19. Both the FDA and the CDC have approved the vaccine for emergency use, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that eligible kids to get it.

Up until now, the COVID-19 vaccine was available to everyone aged 12 and up in America. The vaccine has full FDA approval for everyone older than 16 and emergency FDA approval for those aged 5 to 15.

Positive Trial Results

In late September, Pfizer and BioNTech revealed the first results from the COVID-19 trials in kids aged 5 to 11. In the trials, two thirds of the group were given two 10 microgram dosages—smaller than the ones used for older children and adults—of the vaccine 21 days apart. The remaining third were given placebo doses of saltwater. The researchers looked for how strong the kids’ immune response was and found the vaccine was safe, well-tolerated and highly effective in providing an immune response. The response was similar to the responses researchers had seen in the trials of older groups, but achieved with a smaller dosage. The findings at the time needed to be submitted for peer-review and publication in a scientific journal next.

“Over the past nine months, hundreds of millions of people ages 12 and older from around the world have received our COVID-19 vaccine. We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population, subject to regulatory authorization, especially as we track the spread of the Delta variant and the substantial threat it poses to children,” Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said in a press release at the time. “Since July, pediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240 percent in the U.S. – underscoring the public health need for vaccination. These trial results provide a strong foundation for seeking authorization of our vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, and we plan to submit them to the FDA and other regulators with urgency.”

The past few months have seen a stark rise in the number of COVID-19 cases affecting kids in America. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as of October 28, close to 6.4 million kids have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with close to 101,000 cases added in the past week.

While the vaccine for kids aged 5 to 11 is here, the companies say they likely won’t have more results for kids under the age of 5 until later this year at the earliest.

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