NPR reports that providers across the country can start vaccinating kids ages 6 months to 5 years against COVID-19 as early as this week after regulators cleared the final authorization steps on Saturday.
An independent panel of advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted on Saturday to recommend vaccinating all children in the age group with one of two separate COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky quickly endorsed the recommendation, the final step before the vaccines could be rolled out.
During a two-day meeting starting Friday, the panelists reviewed data from clinical trials by both pharmaceutical companies, as well data on the need for vaccines for this age group.
According to the CDC, as of May 28, more than 400 children 0 to 4 years old have died due to COVID.
Dr. Matthew Daley, speaking at the meeting Friday, said, “Among people ages 1-4, COVID is fifth most common cause of all causes of death.”
He said data from older children and adults show that vaccination prevents death. In fact, he added, among people 5 years and older, the unvaccinated are 10 times more likely to die from COVID than the vaccinated.
The vaccine made by Moderna for 6-month-olds to 5-year-olds is a two-dose series, given four weeks apart. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 6-month-olds to 4-year-olds is a three-dose series. The first two shots are given three weeks apart, and the third one eight weeks after the second shot.
Many providers across the country have already pre-ordered the vaccine and can start administering it as early as this week.