Health experts have said that another 28 million people have become eligible to receive the COVID19 vaccine in the United States as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has formally recommended the Pfizer COVID19 shot for children who are in the age group of 5 to 11 years. The chief of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky has said that the agency has taken a crucial step to fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the country. As parents of millions of children wait to get their kids vaccinated, the federal agency has given a go-ahead to the Pfizer vaccine to be used in 28 million children who are 5 to 11 years old. Experts have said that a panel of independent experts that advises the CDC has voted unanimously to propose Pfizer COVID19 shot for children. Experts have said that the vaccine can be given to children immediately but it will not kick start in full force until November 8, 2021. Now, the White House officials will officially announce that Pfizer’s pediatric shot will be widely available in the US. Over the next week, nearly 15 million doses of the Pfizer pediatric shot will be dispatched. Nearly 10 million of these doses will be given to pediatricians’ offices. Around 5 million doses will be given to pharmacies. President Joe Biden has said that it is a major step forward in the fight against the deadly virus for the United States. Many parents are concerned about the safety of their children since the delta variant has started spreading across the US leading to a higher number of cases, hospital admissions, and deaths in kids.
Experts have claimed that Pfizer’s pediatric shot for kids aged 5 to 11 years has been proved to be nearly 91 percent efficient in preventing symptomatic infection. Children will be immunized with a smaller one-third dose of the shot. Pfizer has revealed that none of the children who have been enrolled in the clinical trials of the pediatric shot have developed an uncommon heart inflammation side effect that is known as myocarditis. A small number of adults have been dealing with myocarditis after vaccination with mRNA vaccines. Most young men have been found with this rare side effect. A myocarditis expert from the CDC, Dr. Matt Oster has claimed that the benefits of Pfizer’s pediatric shot prevail over the possible risk of myocarditis linked to mRNA shots. He has been a part of the expert panel of the CDC and has said that contracting COVID19 is harmful to the heart as compared to getting the shots. Dr. Sarah Oliver from the CDC has said that for each million pediatric inoculation, nearly 18500 infections, and 80 hospital admissions can be averted. She has come up with this estimation with the help of a model on COVID19 infections throughout the pandemic so far. As per the model, if COVID19 cases reach to its peak again due to the delta strain, nearly 58200 cases, and 220 hospital admissions can be averted with each million pediatric immunization. Pediatric vaccination can further prevent the spread of the virus and instill confidence into a safer return to in-person learning in schools. One of the members of the CDC’s expert panel, Dr. Sarah Long has said that the data of clinical trials show that it is an effective vaccine that can save lives of kids and officials should make it widely available to reduce the public health burden. The sanction process of the Pfizer shot has started last week when a committee of experts from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has voted almost collectively to give approval to Pfizer’s pediatric shot. The committee of experts has assessed all the efficiency and safety data of the shot before giving it a go-ahead. The acting commissioner of the FDA, Janet Woodcock has given a green signal to the vaccine last week, and then the process has moved to the CDC for final decision before the shot can be rolled out in the country.
However, it is still uncertain whether parents are going to accept the shot for their kids. A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that a third of parents have given their nod to get their kids aged 5 to 11 years vaccinated right away while another one-third of parents have said that they want to wait and watch how the vaccine performs. However, the findings of the survey have shown a slight increase in vaccine reception among parents who have elementary school-going children. Dr, Janet Woodcock has said that she hopes that parents will focus on the benefits of Pfizer’s pediatric shot. She has said that as more people will witness children getting immunized and protected from the virus and being able to take part in activities without fear of the virus, they will also push for their children’s vaccination. Dr. Woodcock has said that Pfizer’s pediatric shot can prevent the medical issues that come along with COVID19 infection. She has said that no parent should take the risk as COVID19 infection can lead to long COVID, multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS), or hospitalization due to the severe disease. Experts who have been a part of the approval process have said that the risk of not getting the shot far outweighs the risk of mild vaccine side effects that have been observed in some adults earlier.