BY PETER SULLIVAN – 06/18/22
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky backed an advisory committee’s recommendation on Saturday that will allow children under the age of 5 years old to receive the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, capping off the last step needed before children can start getting inoculated.
Vaccinations for children aged six months and older can begin this week.
Earlier on Saturday a CDC advisory committee unanimously voted to recommend Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5, a major milestone for parents waiting to get shots for their young children.
Pfizer’s vaccine had at one point appeared to be moving forward for young children earlier this year but was delayed to gather more data regarding a third dose.
Pfizer’s vaccine is rolling out with a three-dose schedule, while Moderna’s is two doses.
Two doses of Moderna were alleged to be 51 percent effective in children 6 months to 2 years old, and 37 percent in children ages 2 through 5.
However, those numbers are for preventing any infection at all; the numbers for preventing severe disease, seen as the key goal, are expected to be higher.
The Pfizer vaccine was 80 percent effective after three doses, but that finding was from a tiny number of cases, so the result could change.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which cleared the vaccines earlier this week.
“Those trusted with the care of children can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of these COVID-19 vaccines and can be assured that the agency was thorough in its evaluation of the data,” said FDA Commissioner Robert Califf.
While some eager parents can get their children vaccinated this coming week, the uptake for older children suggests that many parents will hesitate.
Only about 30 percent of children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, according to CDC figures.