The White House indicated that, if approved, the vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 will be produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and will have a specific dose and formula for this age group.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue recommending children wear masks in school going into the winter months even if COVID-19 vaccines are approved for more school-age children, ABC News reports.

The announcement comes as the Biden administration prepares to ramp up vaccination efforts for children ages 5 to 11, pending approval and guidance from the FDA and the CDC expected later this month.

“After we have authorization from FDA and recommendations from CDC, we will be working to scale up pediatric vaccination. That said, it will take some time. And as I just noted, as we head into these winter months, we know we cannot be complacent,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, says she is “surprised” at Walensky’s announcement, and believes each school district should make decisions on masking based on local metrics like vaccination and transmission rates.

To date, millions of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 have received the shot. There has been controversy about giving the vaccination to even younger children, since they are statistically less likely to become seriously ill if they catch COVID-19 compared to adults.

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