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US starts vaccinating children 12-15 on Thursday after CDC endorses emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted: Wednesday, May 12, 2021. 5:32 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory panel on Wednesday endorsed using Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, CNBC reported.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky gave her approval after the advisory panel’s endorsement so vaccinations start across the US tomorrow Thursday.

The go-ahead by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices comes just two days after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its approval to the Pfizer’s and BioNTech request for their vaccine to be given to the 12-15 bracket.

The CDC officials gave their approval saying that the vaccine produced no serious side effects on the 2,260 children who participated in the test trials, though 91% experienced some kind of side effects.

Apart from pain when injected, some of these adverse effects were pain in joints and muscles, tiredness, headache, chills and fever according to Pfizer scientist Dr. John Perez.

Perez said to the CDC panel that aside from injection pain, the adolescents in the trial had more effects after the second dose but that these were over within a day or two.

The United States expects that the majority of children 12 years and above will be vaccinated by the start of the new school year.

CNBC said that experts believe that vaccinating children is crucial to ending the pandemic in the US.

Pfizer-BioNTech is conducting trials in children from six months and above in three groups: 5- to 11-year-olds, 2- to 4-year-olds and 6-month-olds to 2-year-olds according to USA Today.
The expectation is that the first of these studies will be out within the next few months but it would not be before the start of the new school year.

“This is a big step for our country. Vaccinating a younger population brings us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic,” acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said on Monday.

Children comprise approximately 20% of the total US population of 331 million.

US experts believe that between 70% and 85% of the US population has to be vaccinated if they are to achieve herd immunity, though that is now considered unlikely because of the spread of variants.

CNBC reported that as of Tuesday, more than 150 million Americans older than 18 have been vaccinated. At least 115 million have received both doses.

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