Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Authorized for Emergency Use

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – On November 2, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) endorsed recommendations that children 5 to 11 years old be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. This announcement follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization of the pediatric vaccine last week. The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup has also approved these recommendations. With this authorization, approximately 42,000 children ages 5 through 11 are now eligible to be vaccinated in Santa Barbara County.

Children ages 5 through 11 years will receive one-third of the adult dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Smaller needles, designed specifically for children, are used for this age group. COVID-19 vaccine dosage does not vary by patient weight but by age on the day of vaccination. Children will need a second shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine three weeks after their first shot.

According to the CDC, similar to what was seen in adult vaccine trials, vaccination was nearly 91 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among children aged 5-11 years. In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting, and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm.

“Protecting our children has been a community priority throughout this pandemic. We are elated to now offer them the protection of a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine,” shared Dr. Van Do-Reynoso, PhD, MPH, County Public Health Director. “With pediatric vaccines becoming available in our community, we highly encourage parents and caregivers to get their children fully vaccinated. As the holiday season continues, let’s do everything we can to ensure the safety of our kids.” 

Local distribution of pediatric COVID-19 vaccines has already begun with full-scale availability anticipated the week on November 8. Vaccines will be available at pediatric healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, and through targeted community events at schools and other venues. 

For information about the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine and countywide availability, please visit or call 2-1-1. 


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