WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Kids under 5 could receive COVID-19 vaccinations as early as June 21, the White House said.
- The schedule would still depend on authorization from the FDA.
- Pfizer said last month that its vaccine for young children was about 80 percent effective after the third shot.
COVID-19 vaccinations for kids under 5 could start as early as June 21, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the White House confirmed on Thursday.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha stated, “We expect vaccinations will begin in earnest as early as Tuesday, June 21, and really roll on throughout that week.”
The applications from Pfizer and Moderna are set to be discussed by the FDA advisory committee on June 14 and 15, after which a decision on authorization can be expected “soon thereafter,” Jha said.
A sign-off would also be needed from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Some parents have been frustrated by the delays since kids under 5 are the only age group that still has no available vaccine.
Jha acknowledged that it will take some time to kickstart the vaccination program, but he’s optimistic that “within weeks every parent who wants their child to get vaccinated will be able to get an appointment.”
It’s unknown how many parents are willing to get their young children vaccinated, however. Some have expressed eagerness to do so as soon as a vaccine is available, but vaccination rates have lagged for older children. The CDC reported only about 30 percent vaccination rates for kids aged 5 to 11.
Last month, Pfizer released data that showed its vaccine for young children was about 80 percent effective after the third shot. They have previously delayed their application while waiting for results from a third dose.
There will be “plenty of supply” of the vaccine for young children, Jha said, with about 10 million doses to be initially released to states, pharmacies, and community health centers.
Vaccine orders can be placed starting on Friday, but the shipping of doses cannot start until authorization from the FDA.
Source: The Hill