The FDA has approved the first vaccines against COVID-19 for infants and preschool children

U.S. regulators on Friday approved the first vaccines against COVID-19 for infants and preschoolers, paving the way for vaccinations to begin next week.

The actions of the Food and Drug Administration follow hers the unanimous recommendation of the photo advisory panel from Moderna and Pfizer. This means that American children under the age of 5 – approximately 18 million young people – are eligible for vaccinations, about 1 1/2 years after vaccines first became available in the United States for adults who were most severely affected during the pandemic. .

IN The FDA has also approved the Moderna vaccine for children and school-age teenagers. Pfizer photos used to be the only ones available for those ages.

One step remains: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends how to use vaccines and their vaccine advisers are ready to discuss vaccines for young children on Friday and vote on Saturday. The final approval will come from the Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Valensky.

At a Senate hearing Thursday, Valensky said her staff worked over the weekend of the June 13 federal holiday, “because we understand the urgency of this for American parents.”

She said pediatric deaths from COVID-19 were higher than what is usually seen from the flu each year.

“So I actually think we need to protect young children, as well as protect everyone with the vaccine, and especially to protect adults,” she said.

For weeks, the Biden administration had been preparing to release the vaccines. States, tribes, public health centers and pharmacies have pre-ordered millions of doses. The FDA’s emergency permit allows manufacturers to start shipping vaccines nationwide. Vaccinations can start on Monday or Tuesday.

Some parents look forward to the chance to protect their little ones.

While young children are not as likely to get COVID-19 as older children and adults, their hospitalizations have increased in Omicron wave and FDA advisers found that the benefits of vaccination outweighed the minimal risks. Studies by Moderna and Pfizer show that side effects, including fever and fatigue, are mostly minor.

Both brands use the same technology, but there are differences.

Pfizer vaccine for children under 5 years of age is one tenth of the adult dose. Three injections are needed: the first two at three-week intervals and the last at least two months later.

Moderna’s is two injections, each a quarter of the adult dose, given at intervals of about four weeks for children under 6 years of age.

The vaccines are for children aged 6 months. Moderna then plans to study her photos for 3-month-old babies. Pfizer has not finalized injection plans for younger babies. A dozen countries, including China, are already vaccinating children under the age of five.

Dr Beth Ebel, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle, said small-scale vaccines would be especially welcome by American parents with children in kindergartens, where outbreaks could remove parents from work, further increasing financial tensions. .

“A lot of people will be happy and a lot of grandparents will be happy too, because we missed those babies who grew up when you weren’t able to see them,” Ebel said.

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Authors of AP Medical Laura Ungar and Carla K. Johnson contributed.

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