New York Daily News: MANHATTAN – Roll up your sleeves, kid.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 on Tuesday.

After the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 14-0 to approve the vaccine, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky signed off on the plan. It does not mandate inoculation, just simply declares it safe.

Needles can start going into tiny arms immediately.

Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday that those vaccines would be available at sites around the city within 24 hours of getting the all-clear.

“The basic game plan we laid out [is] that once we get full and final approval, within 24 hours of that, we’ll be able to have the vaccination at city sites, and then 48 hours after that full and final approval, at a number of other sites,” de Blasio said.

Dr Torian Easterling, the city Health Department’s first deputy commissioner, noted that the city already has doses for young kids and would be reaching out to local pharmacies “to make sure that they’re ready to also dole out our vaccines.”

According to de Blasio, the city has 231,000 doses of the vaccine for kids from 5 to 11 that “either have arrived or are coming in quickly.”

Gov Hochul praised the decision.

“Tonight’s announcement is an important step in fighting this pandemic,” she said in a statement. “New York State’s Clinical Advisory Task Force unanimously agreed with the CDC. Next the New York State Department of Health will issue guidance to the public.

“I encourage parents to reach out to their pediatricians and prepare to get their children vaccinated. New York State has been making preparations for this moment, and we will waste no time to help get shots administered through all available channels so that we can protect our kids from COVID-19 and finally put an end to the pandemic,” the governor continued.

Approval had long been anticipated, and medical professionals have encouraged it as the delta variant encroached on younger populations once thought to be immune to the coronavirus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the shots, which are one-third the size of those given to adults, for emergency use last week.

“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 release Tuesday evening.

Earlier in the day, Walensky opened the meeting with the advisory panel with a strong plea for approval.

“We have been asking when we will be able to expand this protection to our younger children,” she told the committee. “As you will all be aware, in this most recent delta wave, we saw pediatric admission rates higher than they had been in any previous wave of the pandemic, reaching a rate of 25 hospitalizations per 100,000 per year in children between the ages of 5 to 11.”

Since the pandemic began early last year, 1.9 million children in that age group have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, 8,300 of them had been hospitalized, and 94 died, the presenters said. In addition 2,316 have come down with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which is when body parts including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs become inflamed, as the CDC defined it.

White House coronavirus czar Jeff Zients said Monday that the government has enough of the Pfizer vaccine for all 28 million children in the 5-11 age group. The regimen is the same as for adults and older children, two shots three weeks apart.

The White House has already started mobilizing doses so that they’re poised to be administered at pediatricians’ offices, clinics and pharmacies.

After several hours of presentations about trials, clinical results and other information from specialists in the field, pediatric groups voiced their support for approval. Representatives of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and other groups voiced support for the measure.

Many countries have started to administer coronavirus vaccines to their citizens as COVID-19 cases top 219 million worldwide.

They pointed out the benefits beyond protecting children from contracting COVID itself. Vaccinating kids will enable them to return to school anxiety-free; protect more vulnerable family members; reduce community transmission, and likely prevent cases of post-COVID conditions, hospitalization and death.

CDC Work Group Chair Dr Matthew F Daley knows there is some resistance.

“We must recognize that there are parents out there with concerns,” he said, noting that given the plethora of misinformation out there, “It’s understandable that you have questions and concerns.”

Other panel members emphasized the same, noting that the recommendation was meant to reassure the public that the vaccines have been fully vetted and that they were confident in giving them to their own children and grandchildren.