Local

COVID-19 vaccine for younger kids could be available next week, waiting on CDC approval

The first COVID-19 shots for infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the US came one step closer on Wednesday.

Vaccine consultants from the Food and Drug Administration have approved Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for younger children.

External experts unanimously voted that the benefits of the shots outweighed the risks for children under 5 – that is, about 18 million young people. It is the last age group in the US without access to COVID-19 vaccines and many parents are anxious to protect their young children.

If all the regulatory steps are deleted, the downloads should be available next week.

“This is a long-awaited vaccine,” said one committee member, Dr. Jay Portnoy Pediatric Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. “There are so many parents who are absolutely desperate to get this vaccine and I think we have to give them the option to get the vaccine if they want to.”

MORE: FDA commission paves way for 6-17 year olds to get another COVID vaccine option at Moderna

Dr. Peter Marks, head of vaccination at the FDA, opened the meeting with data showing a “rather alarming increase” in infant hospitalization during the Omicron wave and noted that 442 children under the age of 4 had died during the pandemic. This is much less than adult deaths. but should not be ruled out considering the need to vaccinate younger children, he said.

“Every child who goes missing essentially breaks a family,” Marks said.

While approving the vaccines, some committee members said they believed the chances of serious illness and death in young children were slim.

“The risks of vaccination are very low, but so are the risks of COVID-19 for younger children,” said Dr. Cody Meissner of Tufts University.

FDA reviewers say both brands appear to be safe and effective for 6-month-olds in analyzes published before the all-day meeting. Side effects, including fever and fatigue, were generally minor in both, and less common than in adults.

The two vaccines use the same technology but there are differences. In a call to reporters earlier this week, vaccine experts noted that the vaccines have not been tested against each other, so there is no way to tell parents if someone is superior.

“You can’t compare vaccines directly,” said Dr. Jesse Goodman of Georgetown University, a former FDA vaccine director.

If the FDA agrees with its advisers and approves the shots, there is one more step. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will decide on a formal recommendation following a vote by their own councilors on Saturday. If the CDC signs, the vaccines could be available Monday or Tuesday at clinics, hospitals and pharmacies.

The Pfizer vaccine is for children 6 months to 4 years old. The Moderna vaccine is for 6 months to 5 years.

Moderna’s downloads are a quarter of the company’s adult downloads. Two doses seemed strong enough to prevent serious illness, but only about 40% to 50% effective in preventing milder infections. Moderna has added an amplifier to its tests and expects to finally offer one.

Pfizer shots are only one tenth of its adult dose. Pfizer and its BioNTech partner found that two shots did not provide enough protection in the tests, so a third was added during the micron wave.

The data provided by Pfizer did not identify safety concerns and suggested that three shots were 80% effective in preventing symptomatic coronavirus infections. But this was based on just 10 cases of COVID-19. the calculation could change as more cases appear in the company’s ongoing studies.

Several counselors, noting that protection is low after two doses of Pfizer, have been concerned that some parents may end up skipping the third dose or mistakenly believing that their children are better protected between shots, leaving them vulnerable.

Parents need to be educated “very, very carefully so that they are not misled about what vaccines really provide,” said Dr. Archana Chatterjee of Rosalind Franklin University.

The same FDA panel on Tuesday backed Moderna’s half-size shots for ages 6 to 11 and full-size teens for teenagers. If approved by the FDA, it would be the second choice for these age groups. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is their only option.

The nation’s vaccination campaign began in December 2020 with the release of adult vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna, with health workers and nursing home residents at the forefront. Teenagers and school-age children were added last year.

Moderna said in April that it was also seeking regulatory approval outside the United States for its infant downloads. According to the World Health Organization, 12 countries are already vaccinating children under the age of 5 with other brands.

In the US, it remains uncertain how many parents want their youngest to be vaccinated. According to some estimates, three-quarters of all children are already infected. And only about 29% of children aged 5 to 11 have been vaccinated since the Pfizer vaccine was given to them last November, a much lower rate than what public health authorities consider ideal.

Dr. Nimmi Rajagopal, family medicine at Cook County Health in Chicago, said she prepares parents for months.

“We have some who hesitate and some who rarely go,” he said.

___

The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Education Department. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s)
{if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?
n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};
if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;
n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,document,’script’,
‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbevents.js’);
fbq(‘init’, ‘2417800028251481’);
fbq(‘track’, ‘PageView’);

COVID-19 vaccine for younger kids could be available next week, waiting on CDC approval Source link COVID-19 vaccine for younger kids could be available next week, waiting on CDC approval

Related Articles

Back to top button