The committee found that the vaccine was largely safe for this group of children, with cases of myocarditis and other rare side effects being fewer compared to older children.
Booster data presented by Pfizer showed that the response to the third dose ranged from mild to moderate and short-lived, with no new safety concerns among the 401 participants.
Helen Talbat, an associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University, was the only committee member to vote against the recommendation.
“I have a feeling that … in the coming years we will need to vaccinate people in the fall,” she said. “So now in May I am a little hesitant to say [that] in June we should start giving all children from 5 to 11 years old food, ”and then ask them to get another one in the fall.
Even if the three doses benefit children, she said, so many of them have been exposed to the Omicron variant that they could already have a sufficient level of protection against the virus.
Nearly 29 percent of children ages 5–11 were fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Some members of the advisory group suggested that the low rate was a sign that the committee should report the urgency by recommending a booster for all children, rather than saying they “can” get it. The panel discussed a language of recommendation that would allow different age groups to access booster doses without urging their introduction.
“I am very concerned that at our already low rates, people will hear the word ‘ma-u’ as ‘fur,'” said Patricia Stinchfield, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Pediatric Nurses, which attended the meeting.
CDC Director Rachel Valensky is expected to soon support the commission’s recommendation.