US gives final clearance to COVID-19 shots for kids 5 to 11

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WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials have given the final OK to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 5. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the go-ahead Tuesday night. The announcement came only hours after a CDC advisory panel unanimously decided Pfizer’s shots should be given to children ages 5 to 11.

The announcement by CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky came only hours after an advisory panel unanimously decided Pfizer’s shots should be opened to the 28 million youngsters in that age group.

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.

Millions of shots made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have already been shipped to states, doctors’ offices and pharmacies, to be ready for CDC’s decision.

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.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Oct. 28 that the city would be ready to begin vaccinating New York City children within hours of final CDC approval.

According to the mayor, kids ages 5 to 11 in New York City will be able to get their first COVID vaccine dose at city-run vaccination sites within 24 hours of approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parents in the city who would prefer their child get vaccinated at a location more familiar or convenient won’t have to wait much longer.

De Blasio said vaccine shots for young children will be available at pediatrician offices, pharmacies and other vaccination sites within 48 hours of CDC approval.

“We’re going to be doing a huge outreach effort and media effort, community outreach…to get parents to bring their kids in to get them vaccinated,” the mayor said last week at a COVID-19 briefing.

De Blasio reiterated his plans Tuesday.

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