US advisory panel recommends COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11; final ruling from CDC could come within hours

Coronavirus

(AP) — An influential advisory panel voted Tuesday that all children ages 5 to 11 should get Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 shots, putting the U.S. on the brink of a major expansion of vaccinations — and a final decision is expected within hours.

The Food and Drug Administration already has OK’d kid-size doses — just a third of the amount given to teens and adults — as safe and effective for the younger age group.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally recommends who should receive FDA-cleared vaccines, and its advisers decided Pfizer’s shots should be opened to all 28 million children ages 5 to 11.

If the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, signs off, it will mark the first opportunity for Americans under 12 to get the powerful protection of any COVID-19 vaccine.

Shots into little arms could begin this week, as Pfizer already is packing and shipping the first orders, millions of doses, to states and pharmacies to be ready.

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