The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended emergency use authorizations for Moderna’s COVID vaccines to children aged six months to 17 years and Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine to children aged six months to four years, marking a pivotal moment in the country’s campaign against COVID-19.
The FDA committee unanimously approved the COVID vaccines authorizations and recommendations on June 17.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the decision the following day and subsequently encouraged physicians to begin administering the Moderna vaccine to children and adolescents.
COVID vaccines, of one stripe or another, are now available to about 17 million children under the age of five.
Millions of doses have been delivered to hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics by the federal government across the country, including in Dallas County.
Dr. Philip Huang, Dallas County Health and Human Services director, said the county expects to receive a resupply of 2,000 doses, a thousand each of Pfizer and Moderna, more than enough for the anticipated demand following the FDA’s decision.
Pfizer vaccination recipients will require two doses three weeks apart, followed by a third dose two months later.
Two doses of the Moderna injection are advised, four weeks apart.
“This is another major milestone,” said Dr. Huang to The Dallas Morning News. “I think parents of kids under [five] have been waiting for a long time for this opportunity, so it’s exciting for that to now be available to protect their children from COVID.”
Both vaccines have been found to have no severe side effects, according to federal studies. Mild symptoms such as fevers, irritability, crying, tiredness, lethargy, and loss of appetite are common reactions to immunizations in young children.
Dr. Flor Munoz is a pediatric infectious disease associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine and a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Texas Children’s Clinical Care Center in Houston. Some of Munoz’s patients had been in the Pfizer pediatric trial, and she stated she had not seen any serious adverse effects in the younger patients.