11/05/2021

Behind The FDA’s Decision To Vaccinate Kids Under 12

11:57 minutes

a young asian girl receiving a vaccine shot in her left arm. she's smiling.
Credit: Heather Hazzan, SELF Magazine

This story is a part of Science Friday’s coverage on the novel coronavirus, the agent of the disease COVID-19. Listen to experts discuss the spread, outbreak response, and treatment.


This week, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 12 was officially recommended by the CDC, after a unanimous vote from its independent advisory committee and the FDA’s authorization based on safety and efficacy data.

In their analysis, the FDA said the benefits of the vaccine “clearly outweigh” the risks. The risks, which were referenced in a cost-benefit examination of the data, included circumstances that popped up in the study that were unrelated to getting the vaccine (like a broken arm and an accidentally swallowed penny that occurred during the observational period).

As parents around the U.S. race to find appointments, Ira talks to science journalist Maggie Koerth about the safety data and what’s next for parents of young kids, including those under 5.

They also discuss a NASA test of a system to defend the planet from killer asteroids, a new prediction that climate change will change the availability of food crops within the next ten years, and other science news headlines.


Further Reading


Segment Guests

Maggie Koerth

Maggie Koerth is a senior science reporter with FiveThirtyEight.com. She’s based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Segment Transcript

The transcript for this segment is being processed. It will be posted within one week after the episode airs.

Meet the Producers and Host

About Christie Taylor

Christie Taylor is a producer for Science Friday. Her day involves diligent research, too many phone calls for an introvert, and asking scientists if they have any audio of that narwhal heartbeat.

About Ira Flatow

Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Science FridayHis green thumb has revived many an office plant at death’s door.

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