The FDA allows Pfizer vaccination in children 5-11 years of age

The US Food and Drug Administration, approved the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 for children aged five to 11 years, opening up a new age group.

Children are less likely to have severe symptoms if they get COVID-19, but they can still catch and transmit the disease, according to the FDA. Cases and deaths in children peaked in September, which was the worst month for this age group, with more than a million new cases recorded at these ages.

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(AP Photo / Esteban Felix)

The authorization makes vaccination available to 28 million young people in the United States alone. A US poll in September found that about a third of parents say they want to vaccinate their five- to 11-year-olds "immediately" after approval.

The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine is available for this emergency licensed group. The FDA has fully approved the vaccine for people 16 years of age and older, but it is still considered an emergency product for children aged five to 16 years.

California plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to its list of vaccines required for school-age children as soon as it receives full approval for school-age children and adolescents. New York is considering something similar.

The other two COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are only available to people 18 years of age and older. The FDA was close to making the Moderna vaccine available to teens between the ages of 12 and 17, but delayed the decision to look more closely at data on a rare risk of heart disease. Johnson & Johnson is still testing in younger age groups.

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