After an advisory board to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the CDC has also spoken out in favor of using coronavirus vaccines in children between the ages of six months and five years. Both the vaccine from the manufacturers Biontech and Pfizer and the preparation from Moderna could be used for around 18 million small children, the experts decided on Saturday, according to US media reports.
CDC boss Rochelle Walensky supported the decision in a video on Twitter on Saturday afternoon (local time), speaking of an “important step in our fight against Covid-19”. 20 million children under the age of five could now be vaccinated. The vaccine is already approved for older children.
Biden Sees Day of Relief for Parents
US President Joe Biden called the decision a “huge step forward in our country’s fight against the virus.” This is a day of relief for parents in the country. In the coming week, they could start making appointments in pediatric surgeries, children’s hospitals and pharmacies for vaccinations. According to the government, vaccinations could start on June 21st.
There is currently no corona vaccine approved for very young children in the EU. The European Medicines Agency EMA in Amsterdam is currently examining whether the vaccine from the manufacturer Moderna (Spikevax) can also be approved for children under the age of six. Such a test has not yet started for the vaccine from the manufacturers Biontech and Pfizer. According to the EMA, the manufacturers have not yet submitted a corresponding application for an extension of the approval.
Vaccines starting next week
“This infection is killing children and we have an opportunity to prevent that,” said Beth Bell, one of the doctors on the advisory panel, after the vote. The administration of US President Joe Biden plans to make the vaccines available to the under-five age group as early as next week. They should be delivered to places that parents know – such as pharmacies, children’s clinics and pediatrician’s surgeries. However, it is unclear whether many parents will then also have their children vaccinated. The Biontech vaccine for children aged five to eleven years was approved in October. According to the US authorities, only about 29 percent of children in this age group have been fully vaccinated.
US authorities have been pushing for vaccinations for children ahead of the new school year. They hope this will help prevent a sharp rise in hospitalizations and deaths should there be a new wave of coronavirus. Corona disease is usually rather mild in children. Still, as of March 2020, it is the fifth leading cause of death in children ages one to four years old and the fourth leading cause of death in children under one year old, according to the CDC.
Next week, the CDC advisors want to talk about whether they support the use of the Moderna vaccine for children and adolescents between the ages of six and 17 years. There are concerns over rare cases of heart disease in boys and young teenage men that have been linked to the Moderna vaccine.