kids in masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11.

As previously reported, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use authorization for the vaccine on Friday. 

According to the CDC, the vaccine, which will be administered in a as a two-dose primary series, three weeks apart in a lower 10 microgram dose versus the 30 microgram dose given to children 12 years old and older, has proven to be more than 90% effective against virus.

"In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children," a CDC news release reads, adding that the most common side effect has been a sore arm. 

The CDC reports that nationwide distribution of the pediatric vaccine has already begun with distributions expected to reach their full capacity beginning next week.

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation’s fight against the virus that causes COVID-19," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in the news release.

"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. 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.” 

According to the Associated Press, Pfizer is currently testing shots for babies and preschoolers with data expected to be available for researchers around the end of the year. 

Last week the FDA reported that 39% of COVID-19 cases involving people under 18 years old are children aged 5-11, with approximately 8,300 cases in that age range having resulted in hospitalization and 146 deaths nationally.  

According to the Tennessee Health Department, 189,000 known people aged 11-20 have contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the ongoing pandemic, with that number standing at 100,000 for children five and under.