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Tipsheet

White House Rolls Out Plan to Vaccinate Kids, But the FDA Hasn't Approved It Yet

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

The White House rolled out a plan Wednesday morning to vaccinate children ages 5-11 against Wuhan coronavirus. 

"In anticipation of the FDA’s independent advisory committee meeting on October 26 and the CDC’s independent advisory committee meeting on November 2-3, today the Biden Administration is announcing a plan to ensure that, if a vaccine is authorized for children ages 5-11, it is quickly distributed and made conveniently and equitably available to families across the country," the White House released in a "fact sheet." "The start of a vaccination program for children ages 5-11 will depend on the independent FDA and CDC process and timeline, but our planning efforts mean that we will be ready to begin getting shots in arms in the days following a final CDC recommendation. These steps will be critical in ensuring that we are staying ahead of the virus by keeping kids and families safe, especially those at highest risk."

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The FDA has not yet approved the vaccine for the age group and doctors on the approval panel have expressed concerns about heart inflammation. 

“As we go into younger and younger age groups, they’re less and less at personal risk of severe Covid, and on the other hand, somewhat more at risk of this inflammatory heart condition with the mRNA vaccine,” Dr. Ofer Levy told CNBC last week. “So it’s a risk benefit analysis, and that’s why you’re seeing that deliberation.”

According to doctors, children are at low risk of death or hospitalization for the disease. 

"The COVID-19 death risk is clustered among kids with a comorbid condition, like obesity. Of the more than 330 COVID-19 deaths in kids under age 25, there's good preliminary data suggesting that most or nearly all appear to be in kids with a pre-existing condition. For kids with concurrent medical conditions, the case for vaccination is compelling. But for healthy kids?" Dr. Marty Makary writes. "The risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 in kids ages 5 to17 is 0.3 per million for the week ending July 24, 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We also know that the risk of hospitalization after the second vaccine dose due to myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle, is about 50 per million in that same age group."

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Given the data, the move is sparking backlash. 

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