In a statement released by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was announced that children under age 5 can now be given the vaccine for COVID-19. The CDC recently approved the use of COVID-19 vaccines for children between 6 months and 5 years old.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had announced beforehand that they have granted emergency use authorization to both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5. Now, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has endorsed the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on COVID-19 vaccinations for children under 5. As such, parents can now have their children vaccinated with either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines.
The Pfizer COVID vaccine is for children aged 6 months through 4 years old, and Moderna is for those aged 6 months through 5 years old. Children who receive the Pfizer vaccine will be administered three doses of 3 micrograms each. Whereas the Moderna vaccine will be given in the form of two 25 microgram doses. These reduced doses should help children receive the benefits of the vaccines with reduced side effects. Regardless of which vaccine they end up taking, children will be considered fully immunized two weeks after the final dose is taken.
Although COVID-19 infections in children tend to be milder than in adults, Walensky still highly recommends vaccines to help prevent severe illnesses and complications. Studies have shown that both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines help decrease the rates of symptomatic COVID-19 in kids under 5. Furthermore, vaccines aid in reducing the chance of transmitting the virus to family members and friends. This, in turn, can help limit the emergence of other COVID-19 variants.
According to clinical trial data, the vaccines seem to trigger the same immune response for children and adults. They also have the same possible side effects, such as pain at the injection site, headache, and fatigue.
Previously, children under the age of five used to be the only age group without access to COVID-19 vaccines. Now, nearly 20 million children in the United States have become eligible for vaccination. COVID vaccines for children are already being administered across the country at thousands of pediatric practices, pharmacies, local health departments, and clinics. Parents can now contact their doctor, nurse, local pharmacy, or health department for more information on the vaccines and the vaccination process. Alternatively, they can visit vaccines.gov to determine which vaccination spots are available for children.