The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to authorize the use of the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5 years old, the agency announced on Wednesday, June 15th, 2022.
The authorization of these vaccines is a major step forward in protecting our youngest citizens from this deadly virus, and it is great news for parents eager to vaccinate their kids against the COVID-19 virus.
Dr. Peter Marks, FDA’s vaccine chief, said today’s action is a “milestone” in the nation’s battle against the virus and the decision to expand eligibility to kids under 5 comes as the U.S. sees a surge in cases among younger people.
Interestingly, Dr. Marks said the vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective, so it’s important that everyone gets vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the government agency that coordinates disease prevention activities, among other things.
On June 18th, 2022, the CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky endorsed the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
This is a game changer because it not only expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children but also means that all Americans ages 6 months and older are now eligible for vaccination.
The vaccines have begun to arrive at distribution centers across America, and 10 million total vaccines are available with pre-orders of 2.5 million and 1.3 million from Pfizer and Moderna respectively.
What Parents Need to Know About Vaccinating Children Under the Age of 5
Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said that parents and guardians could rest assured that these vaccines have undergone the most rigorous analysis and evaluation of the data the agency can apply.
There has been progress made in vaccinating children ages 5–11 and adults, but there is still a long way to go in vaccinating children. As such, Dr. Peter Marks has urged the need to focus on vaccinating children to help ensure the nation achieves “herd immunity” and can finally put an end to the pandemic.
Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Have Different Doses for Children Under 5
As more people around the U.S. are vaccinated against COVID-19, some parents are wondering if and how they should get their kids vaccinated.
Here’s what you need to know about the approved vaccines.
The vaccines authorized for use in this age group are the Pfizer-BioNTech (“Pfizer Asks FDA to Allow COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids under 5,” 2022) and Moderna (“Moderna Asks FDA to Authorize Its COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 5 and Under,” 2022), both mRNA.
Both vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19. In fact, studies have shown that Pfizer’s vaccine is more than 90% effective at preventing the virus, while Moderna’s is more than 80% effective. Also, both vaccines are extremely safe, with only a handful of people experiencing serious side effects.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for use in children aged 6 months to 4 years, and 3 shots of 30 micrograms vaccines should be administered in the space of one month.
In contrast, the Moderna vaccine is authorized for children aged 6 months to 5 years. 2 shots of 25 micrograms are recommended for the doses and should be taken within the course of 11 weeks.
So, what does this all mean for parents? If your child is eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, experts say it is probably the best option. However, if your child is ineligible for the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is still a good option and should provide good protection against the virus.
At the end of the day, the best way to protect your child from COVID-19 is to vaccinate them as soon as possible.
With the new vaccine, we are one step closer to defeating this virus and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to protect ourselves and others from its potentially devastating effects.
This is indeed good news for parents of young children, as they have been among the most vulnerable to the severe effects of this virus.
It is also important to remember that even with this new vaccine, it is still crucial to take precautions such as; washing hands regularly, avoiding close contact with sick people, and covering coughs and sneezes so as to prevent the spread of the virus.
Written by: Emmanuel J. Osemota