NEW YORK — U.S. health advisers on Saturday recommended COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots.
All the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisors unanimously voted that children under 6 months old should have access to coronavirus vaccinations. Dr. Rochelle Wilensky, Director at the CDC was due to give his final approval later in this day.
While the Food and Drug Administration OKs vaccines, it’s the CDC that decides who should get them.
With millions of doses being ordered to be distributed to hospitals, doctors and other health care providers across the country, the government is gearing up for the shot’s start next week.
The eligibility of 18 million children is expected, though it remains to determine how many will get vaccines. Only a third have vaccinated their children between the ages of 5 and 11 since November.
Below are some tips:
WHAT KINDS OF JOBS ARE AVAILABLE
Two brands — Pfizer and Moderna — got the green light Friday from the FDA.The vaccines use the same technology but are being offered at different dose sizes and number of shots for the youngest kids.
Pfizer’s vaccine is for 6 months through 4 years. Three shots are required to get the same dose as an adult. The dose of one-tenth is for children under 6 months. First two shots are administered three weeks apart and then the third at least two months later.
Moderna’s is two shots, each a quarter of its adult dose, given about four weeks apart for kids 6 months through 5. A third dose was approved by the FDA for children who have immune disorders that could make them more susceptible to severe illness. It should be administered at least one month after their first shot.
HOW WELL DON’T THEY WORK
Studies showed that coronavirus-infected children vaccinated with small doses of vaccine had higher levels than young adults.
It is difficult to determine how effective they are, particularly when you consider the Pfizer vaccine.
Moderna was only 40% effective in preventing milder infections when two doses were administered. This occurred at the same time as the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Pfizer showed study evidence that the three shots were effective in preventing milder infections. But the Pfizer data was so limited — and based on such a small number of cases — that experts and federal officials say they don’t feel there is a reliable estimate yet.
SHOULD MY LITTLE TWIN BE VACCINATED
Yes, according to the CDC’s advisers. COVID-19 was the most serious for elderly adults. However, it can be very dangerous for younger children.
Hospitalizations rose during the Omicron Wave. Since the start of the pandemic, about 480 children under age 5 are counted among the nation’s more than 1 million COVID-19 deaths, federal data show.
“It is worth vaccinating, even though the number of deaths are relatively rare, because these deaths are preventable through vaccination,” said Dr. Matthew Daley, a Kaiser Permanente Colorado researcher who sits on the advisory committee.
What VACCINE SHOULD MY CHILD GET?
Either one, says Dr. Peter Marks, the FDA’s vaccine chief.
“Whatever vaccine your health care provider, pediatrician has, that’s what I would give my child,’’ Marks said Friday.
The doses haven’t been tested against each other, so experts say there’s no way to tell if one is better.
One consideration: It takes roughly three months to complete the Pfizer three-shot series, but just one month for Moderna’s two shots. Moderna is a product that can be used by families looking to protect children quickly.
WHO’S GIVING THE SHOTS?
Pediatricians, other primary care physicians and children’s hospitals are planning to provide the vaccines. They will only be available in limited quantities at drugstores for the youngest patients under 5.
U.S. officials expect most shots to take place at pediatricians’ offices. White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jaha stated that many parents might feel more comfortable having their child vaccinated at home than going to their usual doctor. Dr. Ashish Jha predicted that the rate of vaccination would be slower for younger people than it is for older ones.
“We’re going see vaccinations ramp up over weeks and even potentially over a couple of months,” Jha said.
CAN CHILDREN GET OTHER VACCINES AT THE SAME TIME?
It’s common for little kids to get more than one vaccine during a doctor’s visit.
Studies of infants and toddlers receiving Moderna or Pfizer vaccines did not include other shots. Therefore, there are no side effects.
But problems have not been identified in older children or adults when COVID-19 shots and other vaccinations were given together, and the CDC is advising that it’s safe for younger children as well.
WHAT IF MY CHILD HAD COVID-19 RECENTLY?
According to estimates, around three quarters of all children are infected. To reduce the risk of reinfection, vaccination is recommended for children older than 18.
Experts note re-infections in previously infected individuals and state that those who had been vaccinated are at the greatest risk.
According to the CDC, people might wait up to three months for vaccinations if they have an infected.
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