CDC, Western States Authorize Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for Children 5-11

On Tuesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cleared the way for children 5 to 11 years old to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. Following last week’s emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued its recommendation on a unanimous 14-0 vote after reviewing clinical trial data and receiving presentations from the vaccine manufacturer and CDC officials.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, shortly after the ACIP decision, formally endorsed the recommendation, expanding vaccine recommendations to approximately 28 million children in the United States.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup on Tuesday evening then conducted a review of the federal process and data, determining the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for children 5-11 years old. The Workgroup issued its recommendation to the Governors of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington on Wednesday morning, allowing vaccine providers to begin administering doses among children 5-11.

Following the Workgroup’s recommendation, California Health and Human Services Agency (CalHHS) Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón issued a joint statement reiterating the vaccines’ safety and encouraging eligible residents to receive their dose.

As noted by the Governor’s Office, over 500 entities throughout California have begun receiving shipments of pediatric vaccines, and the state will continue its efforts to leverage existing infrastructure and partnerships to deliver vaccines to this newly eligible population.

Additional information from the Governor’s Office is available here. The full CDC announcement is available here.