By Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder

Pfizer this week became the first vaccine maker to ask the Food and Drug Administration to authorize emergency use of its coronavirus vaccine in children ages 5-11, a development that could open up the shot to 48 million more people.

The request is made even more urgent as children enter the fall and winter months of in-person learning, which could see flu outbreaks on top of coronavirus cases.

Children are at lower risk of severe infection and death from COVID-19 than older populations, but it does still happen.

According to a recent report, nearly 5.9 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and the number of new cases in children “remains exceptionally high,” making up nearly 27% of new infections.

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