The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allowed Saturday Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines for children as young as six months old after the FDA’s vaccine advisers voted unanimously previously this week in favor of expanding the emergency use authorizations for Covid vaccinations in that age group.
The kids could get the vaccine as early as next week since, in anticipation of federal authorization, most US states have already pre-ordered COVID vaccines for children under five.
According to the FDA-issued emergency use authorization (EUA), Pfizer’s jab was approved as a three-dose – each dose is about a tenth of the size of an adult dose -series for children 6 months through 4 years old. The first two doses would be administered three weeks apart while the third one would be delivered at least two months later.
Moderna’s vaccine, on the other hand, was approved as a two-dose series for children 6 months through 5 years old with each dose being about a quarter of the dose given to adults. Each dose would also be delivered about four weeks apart.
Parents need to be aware, as the FDA advisors warned earlier this week, that all three doses are needed to develop a sufficient immune response to fight infection. They also informed that the pediatric dose of Moderna COVID jab may trigger an immune response slightly more rapidly than the Pfizer vaccine although the latter might produce a greater response after the third dose.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, who signed off the approval after a key CDC advisory committee unanimously voted earlier Saturday to support a recommendation for the shots for children, noted that they’ve taken another important step forward in the US fight against Covid-19 with science leading the charge.
Walensky said they’re aware of millions of parents and caregivers that are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with the latest decision, they can though it remains unclear how strong uptake of the jab will be.
According to the estimates of the American Academy of Pediatrics, a bit more than a third of kids (36%) ages 5 to 11, or 8.2 million, have gotten at least one shot as of June 8 while over 14.8 million US children aged 12 to 17 (or 59%) have gotten at least one COVID shot.