By Karen Stokes
On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel recommended authorizing Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccination shots for children under 5 to 6 months.
The FDA will now decide whether to authorize the vaccines for emergency use in the youngest children.
Before that can happen, the CDC’s panel of advisers will meet Saturday to discuss whether or not to recommend the vaccines for the youngest children, a group of roughly 18 million.
If the CDC signs off on their recommendation, shots could begin as soon as next week.
“The vaccine is for kids under 5 to 6 months. There are two companies that have submitted vaccines for that age range, Moderna and Pfizer. For both instances they’ve reduced the dose from what an adult would get. It’s a smaller dose and they tested it over several months to see what the right dose is, that’s safe and minimizes side effects,” said Dr. Cameron Webb, Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity on the White House COVID-19 Response Team.
Pfizer’s vaccine is for children 6 months through 4 years; Moderna’s vaccine is for 6 months through 5 years.
For adults, the primary series is the first two shots, then there was the first booster, taken last fall, then recently there’s the second booster for those over 50.
“For kids it’s a little different, for kids under 5 when they first get their vaccinations it’s called their primary series,” Webb said. “For Moderna it’s two shots, for Pfizer it’s three shots.
Later there could be a determination on whether future shots will be necessary to keep protection levels up. We want to make sure those 5 and under are protected.
More than 30,000 U.S. children younger than 5 have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and nearly 500 coronavirus deaths have been reported in that age group, according to U.S. health officials.
The goal of the vaccination is to prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID 19.