A key Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel on Tuesday voted unanimously to recommend an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 5.
The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 14-0 to allow a lower dose of the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children aged 5 to 11 years old.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky still needs to sign off on the recommendation before children in the age group can be vaccinated.
The Pfizer vaccine has already been fully approved for people aged 16 and up and is available for adolescents aged 12 to 15 under emergency use authorization.
During a briefing of the White House COVID-19 response team Monday, coordinator Jeff Zients said that the Biden administration has already begun the process of shipping doses for children to doctor's offices and hospitals across the country. Officials say 15 million doses will be made available immediately upon approval.
The ACIP vote comes a day after the CDC reported that 80% of adults in the U.S. had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC says 67% of the total U.S. population has at least one dose — a number that's sure to rise once vaccines for children are made available.
The CDC says that 58% of the U.S. population — about 193 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Another 19 million people have received an additional booster shot.