On Tuesday November 2, 2021, the CDC spent the day reviewing data about Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. Ultimately, every single person on the panel voted to approve the vaccine for this age group. This comes after the FDA voted to approve the vaccine for emergency use authorization.

During the meeting, CDC committee member Dr. Matthew Daley explained,  “We need to acknowledge the unknowns, but I think we’ve done that today.” He added, “If we wait, we miss the chance to prevent cases of Covid-19 in this age group, and that includes some very severe cases.”

According to CDC committee member Dr. Camille Nelson Kotton, “Vaccinating children helps prevent spread to other children and to adults in the community.” She added, “Too many children have either lost a parent or become orphaned in this pandemic, which is incredibly tragic, so as an infectious disease specialist and a mother who has vaccinated both of her children, I am fully supportive of recommending this vaccine for this age group.”

Dr. Jason Goldman added, “Clearly the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risk.” Then he spoke specifically to parents who might feel hesitant about vaccinating their children. He said, “When I look at my patients, I don’t just look at the patient in front of me, but I also look at how are they going to be in 10, 20, 30 years from now.” He explained that even though children are not at as great a risk of getting Covid as adults, if Covid still exists in the world when they are adults, then they will be at risk. That’s why he believes that it is important to vaccinate children now so that they are protected in the future. He said, “I wholeheartedly support his vaccine.”

When it was his turn to speak, Dr. Oliver Brooks explained that he believes vaccination is important to help prevent more variants of Covid-19 from developing.

After all of the committee members placed their votes, it was unanimous. They all agreed that the benefits of Pfizer’s vaccine for ages 5-11 outweighed the risks.

The committee’s vote did not make the approval official. After the committee voted, it was up to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to make the approval official. She agreed with the committed and explained, “The chances a child will have severe Covid, require hospitalization or develop a long-term complication like MIS-C remains low, but still the risk remains too high and too devastating to our children and far higher for many other diseases for which we vaccinate our children.”