The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines have officially been authorized for emergency use in young children by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow vaccination in children as young as 6 months.
The FDA announced the move in a press release on Friday morning.
Today, we authorized emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include use in children down to 6 months of age. https://t.co/DFnvVyQ8n6 pic.twitter.com/mXuN3oqZaa
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) June 17, 2022
However, vaccines cannot officially be given to children until the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) vaccine advisers vote to recommend them. The move from the CDC appears to be a simple formality, and a vote is scheduled for Saturday.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has already signed off on the recommendation.
The White House said Thursday that vaccinations for America’s youngest children might begin next week.
Moderna’s vaccine is now authorized for use in children six months through 17 years, and Pfizer/BioNTech’s for children six months through 4 years.
The latest authorization means that an additional 17 million kids under the age of 5 are now eligible for Covid-19 vaccines.
“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,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in a news release.
“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.”
So far, 49 states have pre-ordered the vaccine for children under five. Only Florida has chosen, under the direction of Governor Ron DeSantis, not to order the vaccine. DeSantis has repeatedly said that the state is opposed to vaccine programs for young children.