A US advisory committee supported giving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to children aged five to 11, paving the way for the vaccine to become available to millions of children.
The 18-member panel of experts advising the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unanimously voted in favor that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.
The FDA is expected to make its own decision on the vaccine soon.
Experts discussed the potential risks of the vaccine, including heart inflammation observed in some young adults receiving a higher dose of the stick, compared to the risk of covid-19 in that age group.
Children are at lower risk of developing severe covid-19 than older people, but this age group has still been affected by significant illness – including over 8,300 hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths.
Experts said further monitoring was needed to determine if there was any heart inflammation due to the vaccine.
Pfizer’s study tracked 2,268 children aged 5 to 11 who received two injections at three-week intervals of either placebo or the child dose.
The children developed levels of antiviral antibodies as strong as teenagers and young adults who received full-strength shots.