FDA Recommends COVID-19 Vaccines For Children Ages 5-11

An influential U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee has recommended COVID-19 vaccines for children ages five to 11.

Specifically, the committee endorsed a lower dose of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and BioNTech’s (NASDAQ:BNTX) COVID-19 vaccine for children, a critical step in getting millions more people protected against the virus as winter approaches and the Delta variant spreads.

The endorsement by the agency’s "Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee" will now be considered by the FDA, which could issue a final decision within days.

The agency doesn’t always follow the advice of its independent committee, but it often does. Next week, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine advisory group is expected to make its own recommendation on vaccinating children.

The Biden administration said it plans to distribute vaccine doses for children as soon as it’s authorized by the FDA and CDC, which is expected to come by early November.

The administration said it’s procured enough vaccine to inoculate 28 million five- to 11-year-olds in the U.S., and will distribute it in smaller dosing and with smaller needles to make it easier for pediatricians and pharmacists to administer to kids.

Many parents say they are anxiously awaiting the vaccine’s authorization with schools now open across the U.S. and the Delta variant driving a surge in children’s infection rates.

Children ages five to 11 account for roughly 9% of all reported COVID cases in the U.S., according to data presented to the committee by the FDA on Tuesday.

The number of new COVID cases in kids remains exceptionally high, with more than 1.1 million child cases added over the past six weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.