COVID-19 update: Pfizer-BioNTech authorized for 5-11 year olds

This week, the FDA gave an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for children ages five to 11 to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and shots for that age group could begin soon.

The FDA found that the vaccine caused a similarly effective immune response in children in this age group compared to people ages 16 to 25. In addition, the vaccine was 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in children. The FDA has found no serious side effects in children who received the vaccine as part of their study.

The FDA's authorization means children ages five to 11 will likely be able to get COVID-19 vaccines soon, though the Pfizer vaccine is still only available to people 12 and up. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting Tuesday to make a recommendation on the Pfizer vaccine for the five to 11 age group. After that, the CDC will decide how to give out shots and immunizations will begin.

The emergency authorization comes about two months after the Pfizer vaccine was fully approved by the FDA, and about 10 months since the FDA gave EUA to the Pfizer vaccine last December.

At Carnegie Mellon, vaccination percentages remain unchanged, with 98 percent of the Carnegie Mellon population in Pittsburgh fully vaccinated. Since Oct. 26, there were five COVID-19 cases among students on campus, one case among students off-campus, four among faculty and staff on campus, and none among faculty and staff off-campus. From Oct. 26 to Oct. 28, Tartan Testing caught three COVID-19 cases out of 515 tests. 4.31 percent of isolation and quarantine bedding is in use, with 116 beds still available.

The Allegheny County Health Department reported 835 COVID-19 cases in the week beginning Oct. 24, down from 1,691 cases the week before. Allegheny County had 12 people hospitalized last week, also down from 107 the week before. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Allegheny County this October increased to 106.

All of the statistics in this article are accurate as of Oct. 31.