US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday evening she was endorsing a recommendation to vaccinate children ages 5-11 against Covid-19, clearing the way for immediate vaccination of the youngest age group yet in the United States.
“CDC now expands vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the United States in this age group and allows providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible,” the agency said in a statement. “We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Walensky said. Shortly after she issued her recommendation, staff at Hartford HealthCare in Connecticut vaccinated a half-dozen boys and girls, streaming the event on Facebook.
“As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated,” Walensky said. Earlier Tuesday, CDC’s independent vaccine advisers voted 14-0 in favor of the child-sized doses of vaccine for the younger kids.
Members of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices spent an unusually long time speaking in support of the vaccine before they voted. “We have one more vaccine that saves lives of children. And that we should be very confident to deploy it to the maximum to do what it is meant to do without significant concerns of serious adverse effects,” said Dr. Sarah Long, a professor of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.