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The CDC has given the okay on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use in young children. On Tuesday, an expert panel voted to approve the lower-dose shot which effectively opens up vaccines for the 5-11-year-old age group. Earlier this week, state officials said NJ will be ready as soon as they get the green light to start getting shots in kids’ arms.

On Friday, an emergency authorization was issued for the shot, which is a lower-dose strength than the one for adults. Children ages 5-11 years old are now eligible to receive the two-dose shot, with shots spaced out three weeks apart. The news comes after the FDA’s advisory panel voted in support of the vaccine last week.

The CDC approved emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11, and New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said there were already plans to get vaccinations started. They will potentially be available at include school-endorsed vaccination clinics, officials said during a news conference Monday afternoon.

Experts agreed that the protection the shot offers outweighs any risks that might be associated with it. In a clinical trial involving 2,000 elementary school-aged children the shot was found to be 91 percent effective in preventing COVID.

If the CDC’s review of the shot is positive, kids could start getting the vaccine days after the approval. It’s also possible that the CDC may place limits on their recommendations for the shot. Some members of the FDA advisory panel suggested that only kids at high risk of severe COVID should receive the vaccine right now.

Experts hope that vaccinating this age group will not only protect kids from COVID, but that it will hold back the virus on a larger scale and stop the spread. Still, many parents are undecided on whether or not they will get their child vaccinated or if they will wait to get it or not get it at all.

According to the CDC, there have been 166 deaths of COVID in the 5-11 age group.

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