LOUISVILLE, KY – MARCH 17: A teacher walks among the the masked students sitting in a socially distanced classroom session at Medora Elementary School on March 17, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. Today marks the reopening of Jefferson County Public Schools for in-person learning with new COVID-19 procedures in place. (Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has signed off on giving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to all kids ages 5 to 11, a final decision that means those children can begin receiving shots as soon as Wednesday.
Vials of the pediatric version of the vaccine have already been shipped to states, so they are ready for use following the CDC action.
Making the 28 million American children in that age group eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine for the first time is projected to help accelerate the current decline in infections nationally, and reduce the ability of any new variants of the virus to take hold.
A CDC estimate shared ahead of Tuesday’s vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices said that vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds could reduce infections by 8% between now and the end of March.
“I feel that I have a responsibility to make the vaccine available,” said Dr. Beth Bell, a clinical professor at the University ofWashington’s School of Public Health and a member of the advisory panel. “If I had a grandchild, I would certainly get that grandchild vaccinated as soon as possible.”
The final endorsement came Tuesday night from CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
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