The Food and Drug Administration gave its authorization on Friday for both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 5.
The process now goes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which could give its final consent for the vaccines this weekend. The White House has said its preparing to begin distribution of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 starting next week.
On Wednesday, an FDA advisory panel unanimously found both vaccines to be “safe and effective” for children as young as 6 months old.
Both vaccines come at a much lower dosage than their adult versions. While Moderna’s vaccine comes in two doses, Pfizer’s requires three doses.
“Many parents, caregivers, and clinicians have been waiting for a vaccine for younger children, and this action will help protect those down to 6 months of age. As we have seen with older age groups, we expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “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.”
Children under age 5 are the only age group not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
Polling shows that most parents do not appear enthusiastic about vaccinating their children.
A poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 18% of parents of children under age 5 plan to get their kids vaccinated “right away.” A plurality, 38%, said they will “wait and see.” The poll found that 11% of parents would only vaccinate their children if required, and 27% said they would “definitely not” vaccinate their children.
The survey consisted of 1,899 adults conducted from April 12-26.
The Biden administration said it has 10 million low-dose COVID-19 vaccines ready to be distributed throughout the U.S. The White House said vaccines would be available from children’s hospitals to local pharmacies.
Nearly 18 million children are yet to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.