FDA and CDC approve COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 to 11

November 03, 2021
Young boy mask doctor appointment

Extensive data and ongoing studies show vaccine is safe and effective for kids age 5 and older

By Regence

Parents can now safely protect their children age 5 and older from COVID-19 by getting them vaccinated. After rigorous data evaluation and ongoing studies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have given emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 to 11; this follows the earlier emergency use authorization (EUA) of Pfizer’s vaccine for youth age 12 to 15.

Studies show the vaccine to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 illness in children, and it’s also proven to be safe based on an ongoing study of children who received the vaccine and have had no serious side effects.

“As a mother and a physician, I know that parents, caregivers, school staff and children have been waiting for today’s authorization. Vaccinating younger children against COVID-19 will bring us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock. “Our comprehensive and rigorous evaluation of the data pertaining to the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness should help assure parents and guardians that this vaccine meets our high standards.”

COVID-19 cases in children

In the U.S., 39% of COVID-19 cases in youth (age 18 and younger) were children age 5 to 11. The CDC reported that approximately 8,300 cases in children 5 to 11 resulted in hospitalization and 146 deaths. 

The latest Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine authorization means children 5 to 11 years old can be vaccinated with two doses, three weeks apart and with one-third the amount of vaccine people 12 years and older receive.

Protecting loved ones from potential winter surge—COVID-19 and flu

While the most recent spike in COVID-19 cases has been declining, active cases in the U.S. are now in a plateau which is much higher than last winter. There are still concerns around variants, flu and winter season. “We can’t predict where the COVID-19 pandemic is going.  We do know that the Delta variant spreads very easily indoors, which increases risk as people start spending more time inside due to weather and holiday gatherings.” says Dr. Drew Oliveira, senior executive medical director at Regence “Some models predict we could have a winter surge of COVID-19 as well as a potentially severe flu season, so it’s important for people to work with their doctors to get vaccinated and protect themselves, loved ones and the broader community.”

Vaccinate to protect children’s physical and also mental well-being

Another reason to consider vaccination is your child’s mental well-being. The tremendous cost of this pandemic has not just been in physical illness, but it’s also affected children’s psychological and social development. This includes pandemic fears earlier this year as teenagers returned to school. Getting your children vaccinated allows them to start returning to a more normal life, and it also helps parents feel more comfortable with their kids doing activities they need and enjoy.

We’re here to help

The disease-prevention benefits of vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children. More information about the available COVID-19 vaccines, including booster shots, is available on the CDC website. Visit your state’s health department website or the CDC’s Vaccine Finder site to find out where all eligible people ages 5 and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine:

More information about your coverage for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment can be found at regence.com

Flu shots are also available now in most in-network doctors’ offices, pharmacies and supermarkets. Regence members can also search online using Find a Doctor on regence.com or call customer service to find in-network options. Learn more at Regence’s flu-shot page.