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Children Ages 5 to 11 Could Start Getting COVID-19 Vaccinations Next Week

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It looks like kids as young as 5 years old could start getting COVID-19 vaccinations as early as next week. 

The Food and Drug Administration advisory committee Tuesday voted 17-0 to recommend emergency use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The decision was based on a smaller, age-appropriate dose. With the recommendation now in place, the FDA is expected to make an official determination in the coming days. 

If all goes smoothly, eligibility will quickly expand to about 28 million U.S. children. 

The panel extensively weighed benefit versus risk in their recommendation, acknowledging concern over rare heart-related side effects. Increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis after mRNA vaccinations is being investigated by the FDA, but the uncommon reaction has so far been concentrated in adolescent and young adult males after a second full dose. 

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As of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FDA had confirmed 963 cases — among people 30 years old and younger — out of 1,698 claims made through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.  

In California, the emergency use authorization would bring a student vaccine mandate one step closer to reality. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier this month that K-12 students would be required to get the COVID-19 vaccination in the next semester following the FDA’s full authorization for children ages 5 through 16. There is currently an EUA in place for the 12- to 16-year-old age group.     

Newsom was clear when he made the announcement that personal belief exemptions would be considered, but some state lawmakers since indicated they may try to eliminate the loophole out of concern for overuse, leaving school populations largely unprotected. 

Several lawsuits have been filed against various school districts since the mandate announcement was unveiled.

 

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.

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