The United States approves the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11

It is a move hailed by US President Joe Biden as a “turning point” in the fight against the pandemic.

“Today we have reached a turning point in our fight against COVID-19,” Mr Biden said in a statement issued by the White House.

Vaccination of younger children will “enable parents to end months of anxious concern for their children, and reduce the extent to which children spread the virus to others. It is a major step forward for our nation in our fight to defeat the virus,” ” He continued. .

In Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt personally wrote to Pfizer earlier this year urging the pharmaceutical company to submit an application to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

“I am encouraged by your advice that trials of the Pfizer vaccine show promise for children under 12,” wrote Mr. Hunt for Pfizer Australia CEO Anne Harris.

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“I urge and invite Pfizer to submit a parallel application to the TGA for Australian regulatory approval at the earliest possible time.”

Following this, Pfizer submitted its preliminary data to the TGA for approval on October 26, and health experts are optimistic that the US FDA approval will set an encouraging precedent for Australia’s regulator by the end of November.

If the vaccine is approved, 2.3 million children in the age group in Australia will be eligible to be vaccinated.

The U.S. government has already secured enough vaccine for every child in the country, Mr Biden said, adding that officials over the weekend began the process of packing and sending millions of doses.

“The program will increase over the next few days and (be) fully up and running in the week of November 8,” he said.

“As a mother, 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,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

And some parents were excited to have their children protected as soon as they heard the news.

At Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut, a group of six children on Tuesday were among the first in the country to receive the vaccine.

“I could cry,” said one mother, Liz Croni. “We’ve all been waiting so long for our kids … to get that sense of normalcy back.”

Six-year-old Kareem Omar said the shot “does not really hurt”.

“Do it for America’s sake. Because it helps America and the world so that life is better for every single person on Earth,” he said.

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The CDC had convened a panel of independent scientists on Tuesday to review the available data on the status of the outbreak in children, the effectiveness of Pfizer’s vaccine and its possible side effects during a day of live-streamed discussions.

The panel unanimously recommended the vaccine, and the CDC then approved this recommendation.

There have been more than 1.9 million cases of COVID-19 among five-11-year-olds in the United States, and more than 8,300 hospitalizations and 100 deaths.

Additional reporting by Rayane Tamer.

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