Strong lobby for COVID-19 vaccines for children from 6 months of age

Wednesday’s recommendation of the committee is an important step in immunizing children under the age of 5 and over the age of 6 months who have not yet been eligible for vaccines.

Vaccines may be approved by the FDA soon. The U.S. government plans to launch a vaccination campaign for children under the age of 5 on June 21 if the vaccines receive FDA approval, Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 vaccination coordinator, said last week.

COVID-19 is generally a milder disease in children than in adults, but FDA officials told the panel that the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in the United States so far in young children – about 442 people with under the age of 5 – “compares terribly” with the 78 deaths reported during the 2019-2010 swine flu pandemic.

“I think we need to be careful not to become insensitive to the number of pediatric deaths because of the overwhelming number of previous deaths,” FDA official Peter Marks told the panel.

Once the FDA clears vaccines for the age group – 6 months to 4 years for Pfizer / BioNTech and 6 months to 5 years for Moderna – US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make recommendations for vaccine use in young children . A committee of CDC foreign advisers is scheduled to meet Friday and Saturday.

While many American parents are eager to vaccinate their children, it is unclear how strong the demand for these vaccines will be. The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was approved for children between the ages of 5 and 11 in October, but only about 29% of this group is fully vaccinated.

Public health officials and experts say that although a large proportion of young children have been infected during the winter wave of coronavirus Omicron, natural immunity is diminished over time, and vaccinations should help prevent prevention of hospitalizations and deaths when cases increase again.

The two vaccines are not interchangeable. The Moderna vaccine for children under 6 years of age is a 25-microgram two-dose vaccine given about four weeks apart. The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for the youngest children is a lower dose, a 3 injection regimen given for at least 11 weeks.

Several members of the discussion group at the meeting expressed concern that the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine does not provide substantial protection until the children receive the third dose, noting that parents may believe that their children are protected while waiting for the last dose.

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