Washington: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued formal recommendations for children aged 5-11 to get vaccinated against Covid-19 with the Pfizer vaccine.
"Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nation's fight against the virus that causes Covid-19. We know millions of parents are eager to get their children vaccinated and with this decision, we now have recommended that about 28 million children receive a Covid-19 vaccine," Xinhua news agency quoted CDC Director Rochelle Walensky as saying in a statement late Tuesday.
She also encouraged parents with questions to talk to their paediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated.
President Joe Biden described the authorisation as a turning point in the battle against the pandemic, saying in a statement that "the program will ramp up over the coming days, and fully up and running during the week of November 8".
The decision came after an independent panel of experts on the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices had unanimously recommended the shots for children in a 14-0 vote.
The vaccine is one-third the adult dose and the vaccine would be given in two doses, three weeks apart.
The lower dose was chosen to minimise side effects and still produce strong immunity, according to Pfizer.
White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients said on Monday that the government has purchased enough of the low-dose children's vaccine for everyone in this age group.
A total of 172 children in the US aged 5-11 have died from Covid-19 and more than 8,300 have been hospitalised, according to the CDC's latest data.