White House unveils plans to roll out coronavirus vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 – The Washington Post

by health and nutrition advice journalist

An expert group advising the Food and Drug Administration is scheduled to meet Oct. 26 to hear data about the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. The FDA will decide whether to authorize its use. A vaccine advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is scheduled to meet Nov. 2 and 3 to weigh a recommendation for use. If the CDC director signs off on a recommendation for use, the vaccine can be administered to kids.

Some of those differences were detailed in a planning guide sent to local jurisdictions that was obtained by The Washington Post. Among them, the White House noted that the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine would be shipped in smaller packaging configurations — 10-dose vials in cartons of 10 vials each — along with smaller needles that would make more sense for pediatricians and community clinics to use. Once a vial is opened, doses must be used within six hours, the document stated.

“Millions of adolescents ages 12-17 have been safely vaccinated, and we know vaccines work,” the White House said in a statement. “Fully vaccinated individuals are 10 times less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and have a high degree of protection, including against the Delta variant. The consequences of a pediatric COVID-19 case can be serious and potentially last months.”

Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease specialist, said in a briefing Wednesday that vaccinating children is key to reducing the impact of the virus for everyone in the United States. The delta variant has changed things, he said, and a recent paper showed children are getting infected and transmitting the virus as readily as adults, even though 50 percent of them are asymptomatic.

“If we can get the overwhelming majority of those 28 million children [5 to 11] vaccinated, I think that would play a major role in diminishing the spread of infection in the community,” Fauci said. “That’s one of the reasons why we want to do as best as we can to get those children 5 to 11 vaccinated.”

This content was originally published here.

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