DALLAS, Tuesday, November 2, 2021 – Today, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5 -11. The announcement followed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization on Friday of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 5 years old, the first vaccine in the U.S. to receive emergency use authorization (EUA) in this younger age group.
According to the FDA, the vaccine, which is formulated at one-third of the dose approved for people ages 12 and older, should be given as two doses three weeks apart, just like for older children and adults. The vaccine was found to be effective and extremely safe in an ongoing study. Adverse events were similar to other populations, with no cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart), anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), or death. The FDA’s benefit-risk assessment determined the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the very limited risks in children 5 through 11 years of age.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives for all, supports the new recommendation from the CDC. The Association remains concerned about the continuing gaps in COVID-19 vaccination among people from all eligible age groups in the U.S. and the sustained strain of treating large numbers of unvaccinated people with the virus on the country’s hospitals and emergency rooms.
“Today’s announcement is much anticipated and welcome news for parents, caregivers and educators around the country and another major step forward in ending the pandemic,” said American Heart Association President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA, and Eileen M. Foell professor of Heart Research, professor of preventive medicine, medicine and pediatrics, and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “The Association continues to urge that all adults - and now all children age 5 and older in the U.S. - receive a full course of COVID-19 vaccination as soon as they can, as recommended by the CDC and fully approved or authorized for emergency use by the FDA.”
According to the CDC, current data indicated that children with medical complexities including congenital heart disease, as well as children with conditions such as obesity, diabetes, asthma or chronic lung disease, sickle cell disease, or immunosuppression can be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, making vaccination even more important.
In addition to supporting vaccination, the Association continues to concur with the CDC’s ongoing safety recommendations: mask wearing for all people regardless of vaccination status when indoors, frequent handwashing and social distancing. These protocols, along with full COVID-19 vaccination for all who are eligible, are essential to minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, highly effective and fundamental to saving lives, protecting our families and communities against COVID-19, and ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Please get your child vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Lloyd-Jones.
- Questions About COVID-19 Vaccination
- It’s Up to You: COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative
- Additional COVID-19 vaccine recommended for more adults; mix & match allowed for boosters
- 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose recommended for some adults
- 3rd COVID-19 vaccine dose recommended for heart transplant patients and those with compromised immune systems
- Study finds benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh risks of rare cases of myocarditis
- Viruses are the most common cause of myocarditis in children, experts offer guidance
- Statement following CDC ACIP Meeting from Nation’s Leading Doctors, Nurses and Public Health Leaders on Benefits of Vaccination
- COVID-19 vaccine benefits still outweigh risks, despite possible rare heart complications
- Vaccines for all adults and adolescents pave way to loosen masks, social distancing restrictions
- Guidance on treatment for rare blood clots and low platelets related to the COVID-19 vaccine
- CVST and blood clots related to the J&J COVID-19 vaccine: know the signs and symptoms
- Research about CVST published in the AHA’s journal Stroke
- For more information visit: www.heart.org/pandemic
- Follow AHA/ASA news on Twitter @HeartNews
The Association receives funding primarily from individuals. Foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific Association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, device manufacturers and health insurance providers and the Association’s overall financial information are available here.
About the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives and includes the American Stroke Association. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public's health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.
For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173, AHACommunications@heart.org
Suzanne Grant 727-271-7325, Suzanne.Grant@heart.org
Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)