Children ages 5 to 11 can now get a Covid-19 vaccine in the US

By Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal and Melissa Mahtani, CNN

Updated 10:54 a.m. ET, November 9, 2021
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11:34 a.m. ET, November 3, 2021

9-year-old says she wants to see "Hamilton" on Broadway after being fully vaccinated

One little girl in New York City is certainly not throwing away her shot after receiving her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Nine-year-old Zia Bucci told CNN's Brynn Gingras at a doctor's office that she is looking forward to seeing "Hamilton" on Broadway after getting fully vaccinated.

Zia's mother, Milli, told CNN that her husband is a pilot and they had been living in Arizona but returned to New York.

"That's actually what brought us back to New York was, you know, the mask mandates and the safety in the schools, everyone taking vaccination so seriously. So this is just thrilling," she said.

Gingras reported that the doctor's office received 600 doses for children this morning, in addition to the 300 they had on hand already. Health workers plan to go into schools later to distribute the vaccine.

Children who have been coming in for their vaccines have expressed excitement about finally being able to take off their masks on the playground and having play dates with their friends, Gingras said.

9:14 a.m. ET, November 3, 2021

Have questions about the Covid-19 vaccine for younger kids? Here are some answers.

From CNN's Faye Chiu

The director of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, officially gave the green light on Covid-19 vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 Tuesday, paving the way for million of young Americans to get vaccinated.

Parents have a lot of questions: What dose are their kids getting, and how long will it take to kick in and protect their children? What side effects should they expect? What if their child is about to turn 12 – should they wait until then to get the higher dose? And what happens if the pediatrician's office doesn't have vaccine appointments – what other options are there to get a shot?

CNN posed these questions to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Here's what she said:

Should parents and families plan on kids missing school to recover from potential side effects after they get the vaccine?

Wen: That's up to you. A lot of kids have minimal side effects and will have no problem going to school the next day. On the other hand, if you are worried about child care, in case your child has to miss school and then you may have to miss work, it's reasonable to schedule the shots on a Friday or weekend.

Can a child get the Covid-19 vaccine the same time as another vaccine, like the flu vaccine?

Wen: Yes. If given at the same time, the vaccines would be given in a different injection site – for example, in the other arm, or in two different places on the leg.

What if a child has a history of food or medication allergies? Should they skip this vaccine?

Wen: No. The only reason not to get this vaccine is if your child has a severe allergic reaction to one of its components. Note that the Covid-19 vaccines do not contain egg products, as some other vaccines do. If your child has a food allergy or had a reaction to another vaccine in the past, that is not a reason to refrain from the Covid-19 vaccine.
Kids ages 5 to 11 can soon receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, following CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky's approval of that recommendation.
If you are particularly concerned, mention it to your pediatrician or pharmacist. These health professionals can observe your child in the office or pharmacy for longer following the vaccine just to make sure there is no allergic reaction.

Should a child who has had Covid-19 before still get vaccinated?

Wen: The CDC recommends that individuals who previously were diagnosed with Covid-19 still get vaccinated. The vaccine provides additional, longer-lasting protection than recovery from illness.
There are some experts who believe that someone who has had Covid-19 only needs one shot of the vaccine. However, this is not the CDC recommendation, which is to receive two doses of the vaccine regardless of prior infection.

8:58 a.m. ET, November 3, 2021

Covid-19 vaccine for younger children is a cause for parents to celebrate, CDC director says 

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said “this is really just a time for parents to celebrate.” 

“We now have vaccine that’s eligible for 28 million children between the ages of 5 to 11,” Walensky told ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday. She said deliberations yesterday at the CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices meeting showed the real efficacy and safety of the vaccines. 

“Importantly,” Walensky said, “we’ve taken the time to get this right, to do the science, to have a kids’ dosing schedule.” 

“Really, you know, it’s taken us almost a year compared to when we had vaccine for adults,” she said, noting they’ve “done the due diligence, reviewed the science, made sure we had the appropriate doses for our children. And really now, we have parents who can have the peace of mind that when they get their kids vaccinated, they will be protected.” 

Asked about parents who were still hesitant to get their child vaccinated and what she would say to them, Walensky said, “what I would say to them is, you know, these are new and you may have questions and we are here to answer your questions.”

“We are now beginning to roll out, to distribute the vaccine, to give parents the information that they need,” she said. “Go talk to your pediatrician, your trusted health care provider, your pharmacist and get the information that you need as we start scaling up vaccine across this country.” 

9:36 a.m. ET, November 3, 2021

US will hit the ground running with vaccinations for kids, Fauci says 

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

10-year-old Cate Zeigler-Amon hangs out of the car window as she waits to receive her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at Viral Solutions in Decatur, Georgia, on Wednesday, November 3.
10-year-old Cate Zeigler-Amon hangs out of the car window as she waits to receive her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at Viral Solutions in Decatur, Georgia, on Wednesday, November 3. (Ben Gray/AP)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the US will hit the ground running on Covid-19 vaccinations for 5-to-11-year-olds. 

The vaccine for this age group will now be available in pharmacies, pediatricians offices, children’s hospitals and certain community locations, he said.

“That was what the preparedness was about,” Fauci said. “It’s a good thing. We’ll hit the ground running, and probably by the beginning of next week, we’ll be at full speed.” 

Parents who want to get their children vaccinated should consult with their pediatricians, family physicians and pharmacists, he said, so that they know exactly where to get the vaccine for their kids.

8:27 a.m. ET, November 3, 2021

Fauci says he would "definitely" get his children vaccinated if they were ages 5-11

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it’s “understandable” for some parents to be hesitant about vaccinating their children, after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light for 28 million young children to get vaccinated against Covid-19. But if his kids were ages 5-11, Fauci said he “would definitely get them vaccinated.” 

“They’re not exempt from getting sick” from Covid-19, Fauci said, and persistent “long Covid” has been seen in children as well.  

“There have now been about 700 deaths in the younger age group. … Children are vulnerable. They can get infected, and they also can spread the infection once they get infected within the family unit. So there’s a lot of reasons to get the children vaccinated, and we’re very pleased that it’s has gone through the appropriate process of scrutinization,” he said in an interview on CNN. 

He also debunked a myth that vaccines affect fertility.

“There's no indication whatsoever, even any mechanistic feasibility that would affect fertility at all. In fact, in the millions and millions of doses and billions of doses that have been given worldwide of the vaccine, there’s no indication whatsoever that it has anything to do with fertility,” said Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden. 

Fauci added that “I’m not so sure we’re going to get soon to zero spread.” 

“I don't think we're going to get to eradication. We’ve only eradicated one viral disease, and that's smallpox. But you can get it down to a very low level, if you get enough people vaccinated,” he said.  


8:14 a.m. ET, November 3, 2021

94% of Americans are now eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

With Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine now available for children ages 5-11, more than 308 million Americans are currently eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the most recent US Census data.

At least 308,834,688 Americans are 5 years old or older – about 94% of the total population, according to 2019 US Census estimates.


9:31 a.m. ET, November 3, 2021

5- to 11-year-olds can get a Covid-19 vaccine in the US now

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said Tuesday evening she was endorsing a recommendation for vaccinating children ages 5-11 against Covid-19, clearing the way for immediate vaccination of the youngest age group yet in the United States.

“CDC now expands vaccine recommendations to about 28 million children in the United States in this age group and allows providers to begin vaccinating them as soon as possible,” the agency said in a statement late Tuesday.

“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,” Walensky said.

“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. As a mom, I encourage parents with questions to talk to their pediatrician, school nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the vaccine and the importance of getting their children vaccinated." 

9:27 a.m. ET, November 3, 2021

This Connecticut hospital began vaccinating kids moments after CDC's OK

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Connecticut hospital vaccinated a handful of children Tuesday evening, just minutes after US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on advisers’ recommendation to vaccinate kids ages 5-11 against Covid-19.

Hartford HealthCare held a live vaccination event Tuesday evening, and officials there said they believed the children were the first in this age group to be vaccinated in the United States. Most vaccinations were not scheduled to begin before Wednesday.

“The vaccine has proven to be very safe,” Keith Grant, senior system director for infection prevention at Hartford HealthCare, said before a staffer vaccinated six boys and girls in front of cameras.