US children under five may receive Covid vaccine from next week after CDC gives rollout green light

‘We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can,’ says CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky

Santa Clara County prepared for imminent approval of COVID vaccines for children under 5
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Children under the age of five could start receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in a matter of days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the green light to rolling out the shots.

In a meeting on Saturday, CDC’s independent panel of advisers voted to approve the Pfizer vaccine for children aged six months to four years and the Moderna vaccine for children aged six months to five years.

Less than two hours later, CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky gave her official signoff, allowing states to get shots into the arms of young children from early next week.

“Together, with science leading the charge, we have taken another important step forward in our nations fight against COVID-19,” she said in a statement.

“We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can.”

The Pfizer vaccine is administered in three doses, with the second dose given three weeks after the first and the third given at least eight weeks after the second.

The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, with the second administered four weeks after the first.

CDC advisers discussed the two vaccines’ effectiveness in children as young as six months old in an hours-long meeting on Saturday morning, before voting unanimously in favour of their approval.

The landmark decision was celebrated by the CDC officials, finally giving parents the chance to vaccinate their young children two years into the pandemic.

Dr Sarah Long, a paediatrician at St Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia and CDC committee member, urged parents to get their children vaccinated “to save their lives”.

“We want to say today that if you’re not going to immunize your children, we think that’s a misplaced concern and that you should immunize your children to save their lives,” she said.

The vote came after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the two vaccines for children under five on Friday.

FDA authorised two vaccines for children under five on Friday

President Joe Biden hailed the FDA’s move describing it as a “huge relief” for parents across the country.

“Today is a day of huge relief for parents and families across America,” he said.

“We are the first country to protect our youngest children with COVID-19 vaccines, offering safe and highly effective mRNA doses to children as young as six months old.”

Mr Biden said that parents would be able to start scheduling vaccinations for their children as early as next week with shipments kicking off on Friday following the FDA’s announcement.

The first appointments are likely to take place on Tuesday as paediatricians’ offices are likely to be closed on Sunday and on Monday for the Juneteenth federal holiday.

All 50 states other than Florida had placed orders for the vaccines for children under five in anticipation of its approval.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis defended his refusal to do so claiming the federal procurement process is “convoluted”.

He also argued that “media hysteria” and “misinformation” has left parents “frightened” about their children contracting Covid-19.

The White House has condemned the state’s decision.

While young children are at less of a risk of serious illness and death from Covid-19 than adults, 202 children aged six months to four years old have died from the virus, CDC data shows.

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