FDA authorizes Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines for kids as young as 6 months
“We at FDA recognize the importance of making decisions that affect children’s life. And we are painfully aware of the faith that the American people have placed in us. Parents, caregivers, and health-care professionals may rest certain that both of these vaccines were approved with science and safety in mind “Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s director of vaccines, said in a press conference on Friday. On Wednesday, the FDA’s panel of independent experts voted to approve the Moderna vaccine for children under the age of six, which is a two-dose vaccine, and the Pfizer vaccine for children under the age of five, which is a three-dose vaccine. Both votes were cast in unison. The final step in the process is a recommendation from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, after which shots can be administered in doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and other locations. That recommendation is expected sometime on Saturday after the CDC’s advisory panel wraps up two days of meetings to review the data once more. Kids could begin to get their shots Monday if the CDC director signs off, but given the federal holiday in honor of Juneteenth, some offices may be closed and it’s more likely that shots ramp up starting on Tuesday.
“As doses are delivered, parents will be able to schedule vaccinations for their youngest children as early as next week, with appointments increasing up over the coming days and weeks,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on Friday. Over the last two weeks, the federal government made ten million pills accessible for preordering to states. According to HHS, 3.8 million doses have been ordered so far, with 2.5 million Pfizer doses accounting for roughly half of the doses available and 1.3 million Moderna doses accounting for about a quarter of the doses available. Officials cautioned that preordering is generally slow when a new age group becomes eligible for shots as doctors and clinics get their vaccine programs up and running, but they expected orders to ramp up in the coming weeks. “Children need to live highly social lives to develop and flourish. With this authorization, caregivers for young children ages 6 months through 5 years of age finally have a way to safeguard against COVID risks in classroom and daycare settings,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla expressed his gratitude to individuals who enrolled youngsters in the clinical trial in order for the authorization to be granted. While both vaccines are effective against COVID, some parents have had difficulty deciding which is the best option for their kid. The nation’s leading health officials said Friday They’d give their kids the first shot that was offered. The FDA commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf, revealed he has two grandkids under the age of five: He said, “They’ll receive the first one that’s available.” In a news conference, he added, “The distinctions between the two are so much less than the underlying benefit to risk balance.” Marks, the FDA’s vaccine chief, agreed, but acknowledged the intricacies that extra-vigilant parents might take into account. “It’s possible that the Moderna vaccination induces a faster immunological response. The three-dose Pfizer regimen, on the other hand, may result in a stronger immune response after the third treatment, and there are some minor changes in the safety profile “According to Marks.
“But, again, these are rather minor, and unless you really want to get into the subtlety, the correct answer here is whatever vaccine your health care provider doctor has, and that’s what I would give my child,” Marks said. Moderna’s two-shot vaccination was found to be roughly 40% to 50% effective at preventing moderate illnesses after both shots, according to their data. However, Moderna representatives said they expect a third dose, or booster, to be offered to children in the coming months — either the current vaccination or an omicron-specific vaccine the company is developing for the autumn — which could improve efficacy.