The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and its use in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents following the recommendation of its independent advisory committee.
The recommendation from the CDC comes close on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision on Monday to authorize the emergency use of the vaccine in 12- through 15-year-old adolescents.
The CDC now recommends that “this vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away.”
The two-dose vaccine is already authorized for use in people 16 and older.
The recommendation is paving the way for the mass vaccination of middle and high-school students before the start of the next schooling year. This also opens vaccination to approximately 17 million adolescents in the United States.
The CDC director said in a statement that “though most children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms, some children can get severely ill and require hospitalization.”
In late March, Pfizer- BioNTech had said that the vaccine was found to be 100% effective in a clinical trial of more than 2,000 adolescents. They added that the vaccine showed a “robust” antibody response in the children, exceeding those in an earlier trial of older teens and young adults. Side effects were generally consistent with those seen in adults, the companies said.
Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft are offering free rides to anyone going to a COVID-19 vaccination site to get their shots. The free ride-sharing program will start on May 24 and run through July 4. U.S.
President Joe Biden said this is to ensure that transportation is less of a barrier for those who want to get vaccinated.
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