Covid-19 Vaccines for 5-11 OK’d, Clearing Way for Shots to Younger Kids in Oregon

A group of West Coast scientists and medical experts on Tuesday night reviewed and unanimously concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for children 5 to 11 years of age — clearing the way for shots to be made available to younger children in Oregon as early as Wednesday.

The Oregon Health Authority confirmed it will inform health care providers that vaccinations for 5- to 11-year olds can begin this week.

On Friday, Oct. 29, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the vaccine in 5- to 11-year-olds, and the CDC affirmed that decision on Tuesday.

The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup — which has been advising the governors of Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada on vaccine safety and effectiveness throughout the pandemic — reviewed and affirmed the federal decisions Wednesday morning.

“This is great news for Oregon children, parents and families,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

“Vaccination is the best tool we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones. With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, Oregon parents and children can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5-to-11-year-olds.”

The Workgroup thoroughly reviewed safety data for the vaccine, including the absence of any severe adverse events among vaccine recipients in the clinical trial. Reactions were mild and similar to those seen in adolescents and adults and with other vaccines routinely recommended for children and were less common at ages 5-11 years than at 16-25 years.

“It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines,” Brown continued. “I urge you to reach out to your family doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist and get your questions answered today.”

Call your provider or visit Get Vaccinated Oregon to find a vaccine location near you with pediatric doses available. Pharmacies can also provide flu vaccines to children age 3 and older.

Washington, Oregon, and Nevada joined California’s Covid-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October 2020. The workgroup, made up of nationally acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to Covid-19 vaccines.

It will continue to evaluate other Covid-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process. The group’s recommendations have never meaningfully differed from those of federal health agencies like the FDA and CDC.

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