The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisors endorsed Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 shots for toddlers and pre-school-aged children this week.
With the approval of FDA Administrators, roughly 18 million children will have access to vaccinations outfitted to protect the nation’s last age group that has gone without protection during the pandemic. The Biden administration announced earlier this month that the first COVID-19 vaccination doses could be available as early as June 21 if federal regulators authorize the shot.
An analysis posted ahead of the meeting to approve the vaccines shows Moderna and Pfizer appear to be “safe and effective for children as young as 6 months old,” the Associated Press reported.
If the opinion of advisors aligns with the FDA, all that would be left is a decision from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to decide on a formal recommendation after its advisors vote on Friday and Saturday.
The final step is a signature of approval from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
Pfizer’s three-dose vaccine is effective for children 6 months through 4 years and administers just one-tenth of its adult dose.
Moderna’s two-dose vaccine is for those 6 months through 5 years and is one-quarter of its adult dose at 25 micrograms. The vaccine appears strong enough to prevent severe illness but is 40 to 50 percent effective to prevent milder infections.
According to early clinical trials, Pfizer's three-dose vaccines at 3 micrograms appear to be 80 percent effective in preventing the disease within the youngest group.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D reported that more than 30,000 U.S. children younger than 5 have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and nearly 500 coronavirus deaths are reported in that age group.