Live updates of CDC meeting on Pfizers Covid vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11 – CNBC

Covid infections in children less likely to be reported, CDC official says

Children and adults catch Covid-19 at similar rates, but infections in kids are less likely to be reported, CDC official Dr. Jefferson Jones told the committee, suggesting the true number of pediatric cases in the U.S. could be much higher.

Of the children ages 5 to 11 infected and hospitalized with Covid from March of last year through August, 37% were Black and 31% were Hispanic, he said. About 68% of the kids in total had an underlying medical condition. The most common conditions were chronic lung disease, primarily asthma, and obesity, he said.

Hospital stays for kids ages 5 to 11 with Covid were on average longer than children hospitalized with the seasonal flu, he said. Young kids with Covid were also more likely to be admitted to the ICU, when compared to those who had the flu, he added.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Moms Oppose Mandates asks panel to soften recommendation

Christina Dietrich, a representative of Delaware Moms Oppose Mandates, asked the committee during its public comment period to soften its final recommendation so it doesn’t embolden states and school districts to impose vaccine mandates.

Dietrich claimed there was a lack of evidence demonstrating the shots reduce severe disease and death among children, calling on ACIP to give parents more time to wait for extra data on the vaccines’ effectiveness.

“We beg you to say that kids 5 to 11 may receive the vaccine, not that they should,” Dietrich said. “Otherwise, your approval will be used to enact mandates unjustified by an EUA.”

— Robert Towey

No cases of anaphylaxis or myocarditis in Pfizer study, company says

There were no cases of anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, or myocarditis, a rare heart inflammation, in Pfizer’s clinical trial of children ages 5 to 11, Dr. Alejandra Gurtman, vice president of vaccine clinical research and development at the company, told the committee. Both conditions are listed as a severe, but extremely rare, potential side effects to the vaccine in people 16 and older in the U.S.

There were also no cases of Bell’s palsy – which federal regulators had previously said they were monitoring for in adult vaccine recipients – or appendicitis, she said. Bell’s Palsy has been flagged by regulators in Canada as a potentially rare reaction mostly in adults.

Side effects from the shots were mostly mild to moderate, with vaccine-induced fever being less common in this age group than a study of those ages 16 to 25, she said. The observed adverse events in the study did not suggest any safety concerns, she added.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

2,316 kids ages 5 to 11 have suffered from Covid-related inflammatory syndrome

At least 2,316 kids ages 5 to 11 have suffered from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, a rare but serious Covid-related complication, CDC adviser Dr. Matthew Daley told the committee during a presentation.

In addition, there have been at least 1.9 million Covid cases in this age group, 8,300 hospitalizations and at least 94 deaths, he said. The burden of the pandemic extends beyond case counts, he said, adding Covid has caused school closures nationwide.

Pfizer and BioNTech are asking to give two 10 microgram doses of their vaccine – a third the dosage given to teens and adults – three weeks apart to young children, he said. The vaccine has already been cleared for people as young as 12.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

CDC announces a second public comment period Wednesday

ACIP Executive Secretary Dr. Melinda Wharton said the panel plans to hold two public comment periods on Pfizer’s kids vaccine, scheduling a second one on Wednesday at approximately 3:45 p.m. Eastern time.

“Engagement with the public and transparency in our processes is vital to the committee’s work,” she said.

Anyone interested in commenting can submit a request on the agency’s website to speak tomorrow or submit a written comment online. The committee will pick participants through a blind lottery, but Wharton said priority will be given to comments filed in advance.

Information on the comment process is posted on the advisory committee’s website, Wharton said. ACIP’s first public comments will start today at 12:10 p.m.

— Robert Towey

CDC director says committee vote today will have ‘tremendous impact’

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky addressed the vaccine advisory committee at the start of the meeting Tuesday, saying their vote on whether to recommend Pfizer’s vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 will have a “tremendous impact.”

Pediatric Covid-19 hospitalizations have surged amid the spread of the delta variant, reaching a rate of 25 hospitalizations per 100,000 persons per year in children ages 5 to 11, Walensky said. There have been 745 deaths among those under age 18, including 94 deaths in kids ages 5 to 11, she added.

“The chances a child will have severe Covid, require hospitalization or develop a long term complication like MIS-C remains low but still the risk remains too high and too devastating to our children and far higher for many other diseases for which we vaccinate our children,” she said.

–Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

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