White House defends vaccine for kids despite doubts re its effects

Washington, Oct 27 (EFE).- The White House pandemic response team on Wednesday defended its position on vaccinating children between the ages of 5 and 11 against Covid-19 despite the adverse effects getting the jab could have and the doubts within the scientific community about doing so.

Members of the team discussed the matter at a press conference at which they reported that the US on Wednesday hit the milestone of administering 400 million doses of anti-Covid vaccine since the start of the Joe Biden administration, including first doses, second doses and booster shots, although there are still 60 million people in the country who have not been inoculated.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, defended the urgency surrounding vaccinating this cohort of children not only because it would increase the overall number of people immunized against Covid-19 but also because it would protect the children themselves against more serious consequences from the disease if they should become infected.

A Food and Drug Administration scientific committee on Tuesday recommended approving for emergency use the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children from 5-11, and now the FDA itself must give its final approval to the move.

In the meeting on Tuesday, some members of the FDA panel emphasized the need to have more information before recommending the vaccine for this population group, while others stressed that the data regarding its efficacy and safety are sufficient to allow authorities to move forward with its use.

When asked about the doubts harbored by some scientists, Walensky insisted on Wednesday that administering the vaccine to kids is “urgent” because the data show that many children have become infected, some have died and others continue to suffer long-term effects from Covid-19.

On this point, she noted how the pandemic has affected children and said that Covid was one of the main causes of death among this population group over the past year.

Walensky added that since the start of the pandemic 745 minors have died from – and 8,300 have been hospitalized with – Covid-19.

The coordinator of the government’s response to the pandemic, Jeff Zients, emphasized that when the FDA authorizes the vaccine for 5-11-year-olds millions of doses will be distributed to inoculate this group, which numbers some 28 million nationwide.

Zients said during the press conference that 400 million doses have been administered to date and that 15 million people have received one booster shot of the vaccines authorized for use within the US, namely those manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

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