Children under 6 months of age are eligible for the Pfizer, Moderna . vaccine

A child receives a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech (COVID-19) pediatric coronavirus vaccine.

Mayela Lopez | Reuters

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday advocated Pfizer‘sand ModernaCovid-19 shots are given to children under 6 months of age, with immunization rounds expected to begin in earnest after the holiday weekend.

The CDC’s committee of independent vaccine experts voted unanimously to recommend vaccination for infants through preschool children after two days of public meetings. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky accepted the committee’s recommendation and made a final decision on Saturday.

The White House said immunizations for children under 5 will begin in earnest on Tuesday, after the June 16 federal holiday. Ashish Jha, the Biden administration’s Covid response supervisor, every parent who wants to get their child vaccinated can do so in the next few weeks.

The federal government initially provided 10 million doses of the vaccine to local partners. There are nearly 20 million children aged 6 months to 5 years in the US

CDC encourages parents to contact their GP, local pharmacy, health department, or visit a doctor to find where shots are available for their child.

Nearly everyone in the US is now eligible for the Covid vaccine in less than two years after the first shots were approved for seniors in December 2020.

“I strongly believe that vaccines should be used,” said Dr. Grace Lee, chair of the CDC’s vaccine committee. “We can clearly prevent hospitalizations and deaths. And I believe we have the potential to prevent long-term complications of infections that we don’t yet understand.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a statement Saturday, strongly recommends that parents vaccinate their children and send any questions or concerns they may have to their GP. .

General risks for children

Although Covid is usually less severe in children than it is in adults, the virus can be life-threatening for some children. Covid is the fifth leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 4 years old. according to CDC data. More than 200 children aged 6 months to 4 years have died from Covid since January 2020.

According to CDC data, more than 2 million children in this age group have been infected with Covid during the pandemic, and more than 20,000 children have been hospitalized.

Hospitalization rates of children under 5 with Covid spiked during winter omicrons, hitting a pandemic peak for this age group. The majority of them, 86%, were hospitalized mainly due to the impact of Covid on their health, according to CDC data. In other words, they were not included in the data because they tested positive for the virus after being hospitalized for another health reason.

According to CDC data, more than 50% of children under 5 years of age admitted to the hospital do not have an underlying medical condition. Nearly a quarter of children this age admitted to the hospital were admitted to the intensive care unit.

Nearly 2,000 children under the age of 5 have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, following a Covid infection. MIS-C is a condition in which multiple organ systems — the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or digestive organs — become inflamed. Nine children under the age of 5 have died from MIS-C.

Sarah Long, committee member and pediatrician at St.

Difference between Pfizer, Moderna . vaccines

Pfizer vaccine is given in three doses to children 6 months to 4 years of age. The injections are dosed at 3 micrograms, which is one-tenth of what an adult receives. The three shots are about 75% effective in preventing mild omicron illness in children 6 months to 2 years old and 82% effective in children 2 to 4 years old.

However, the vaccine’s effectiveness data is preliminary and imprecise as it is based on a small cohort of 10 children, with estimates ranging from 14% to 96% protection against omicrons. Dr Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s head of vaccine research, said the antibody response observed in children after the third dose was higher than in 16 to 25 year olds who received two doses, should ensure that the vaccine is effective.

“In the interest of complete transparency for parents, it is appropriate for me to acknowledge the uncertainty surrounding that,” said committee member Dr Matthew Daley of the vaccine’s efficacy estimate. ask for.

It is important that parents who choose Pfizer make sure their child gets a third shot to stay protected from the virus. Two doses are only about 14% effective in preventing infection for children under 2 years of age and 33% effective for those 2 to 4 years of age.

“I don’t want parents to get the impression that two doses are good enough,” said Daley, a pediatrician who investigates vaccine safety.

Moderna’s vaccine is given in two doses to children 6 months to 5 years of age. The injections are dosed at 25 micrograms, a quarter of what adults get.

Moderna’s vaccine is about 51% effective in preventing mild disease caused by omicrons for children 6 months to 2 years old and about 37% effective for children 2 to 5 years old. However, the company hopes the vaccine will provide strong protection against severe illness because children have higher levels of antibodies than adults who receive two doses.

According to Dr. Rituparna Das, who led Moderna’s Covid vaccine development, Moderna is working on an omicron-targeted booster dose for children in this age group with tentative data on safety and response. immune response of the shot in the fall.

The most common vaccine side effects are pain at the injection site, irritability and irritability, loss of appetite and drowsiness, according to the FDA. Very few children who received either shot developed a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, and none of them developed myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, in the Pfizer or Moderna trials.

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