CDC recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for children – saving more lives

On 29 October 2021, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to now include children, 5-11-year-olds. This followed a thorough review of the safety and effectiveness for 5-11-year-olds by the independent Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), which then voted unanimously to recommend the EUA expansion.

On 2 November 2021, the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the vaccine for the same age group.

girl playing with bubbles pfizer COVID-19 vaccine children
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children FAQS

Despite some of the claims of the anti-vaccine world, these vaccine EUAs require the same level of review as any other vaccine approval. That is, it is thorough and involves vaccine scientists, statisticians, and public health experts.

For vaccines, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, also known as VRBPAC, are made up of experts in vaccines, public health, and statistics. There are around 27 individuals on the committee (although several may not attend or participate). These experts include one vaccine industry expert (always a clinical physician-scientist) and one consumer representative.

Also, Dr. Paul Offit, MD, who has been a target of anti-vaxxers for years, is a member of the committee. Dr. Offit is one of the world’s experts on vaccines, who developed one of the rotavirus vaccines that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives across the world every year. 

According to the FDA, the committee is charged with:

The Committee reviews and evaluates data concerning the safety, effectiveness, and appropriate use of vaccines and related biological products which are intended for use in the prevention, treatment, or diagnosis of human diseases, and, as required, any other products for which the Food and Drug Administration has regulatory responsibility. The Committee also considers the quality and relevance of FDA’s research program which provides scientific support for the regulation of these products and makes appropriate recommendations to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs.

The Committee shall consist of a core of 15 voting members including the Chair. Members and the Chair are selected by the Commissioner or designee from among authorities knowledgeable in the fields of immunology, molecular biology, rDNA, virology; bacteriology, epidemiology or biostatistics, vaccine policy, vaccine safety science, federal immunization activities, vaccine development including translational and clinical evaluation programs, allergy, preventive medicine, infectious diseases, pediatrics, microbiology, and biochemistry.

These individuals are not industry shills. They are some of the leading experts in all fields of vaccinology, who have extensive research and educational backgrounds in vaccines.

VRBPAC examined the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children and determined that:

  • Effectiveness: Immune responses of children 5 through 11 years of age were comparable to those of individuals 16 through 25 years of age. In addition, the vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 through 11.
  • Safety: The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children age 5 through 11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study.

The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5 through 11 years of age is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart, but is a lower dose (10 µg) than that used for individuals 12 years of age and older (30 µg). 

Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

Summary

Again, after a thorough review by independent vaccine scientists and experts, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine to be approved for use in children. And reviewing the same clinical data, the CDC recommended its use in children.

This approval is important, because, according to the FDA:

In the U.S., COVID-19 cases in children 5 through 11 years of age make up 39% of cases in individuals younger than 18 years of age. According to the CDC, approximately 8,300 COVID-19 cases in children 5 through 11 years of age resulted in hospitalization. As of Oct. 17, 691 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. in individuals less than 18 years of age, with 146 deaths in the 5 through 11 years age group.  

And we don’t know how many adult cases were caused by children who carried the infection. Vaccines are not just important in preventing COVID-19 infections in children but also stopping them from spreading to vulnerable populations.


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The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!