WASHINGTON – An expert panel on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to recommend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorize the Pfizer and BioNTech SE COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, saying the benefits of inoculation outweigh the risks.
An authorization for that age group would be would be an important regulatory step toward reaching about 28 million children for inoculation, most of them back in school for in-person learning.
The vaccine could be available to the younger age group as soon as next week.
If the FDA authorizes the shots for this age group, an advisory panel to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet next week to make a recommendation on the administration of the vaccine. The CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will make the final decision.