Breaking: FDA advisors endorse COVID vaccine for kids aged five to 11

Members of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee agreed that the benefits of vaccinating younger children appeared to outweigh the risks, but some members appeared troubled about voting to vaccinate a large population of younger children based on studies of a few thousand.

“It is reassuring to me that we are giving a lower dose,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Pfizer has cut its vaccine to one-third of the adult dose for the children under 12.

“I am just worried that if we say yes, then the states are going to mandate administration of this vaccine for children to go to school and I do not agree with that,” said Dr. Cody Meissner, a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine. “I think that would be an error at this time.”

But Dr. Amanda Cohn of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminded the committee that children have died of Covid-19. According to CDC, more than 700 children 18 and under have died of Covid-19. “We don’t want children dying of Covid,” she said. “And we don’t want children in the ICU.”