Covid-19 immunizations begin for US children under age 5

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Covid-19 immunizations begin for US children under age 5

Her active baby boy sat on her lap while receiving his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. The injection was given to him in the thigh. He cried for a few seconds, but then his attention turned to a golden retriever who was the hospital’s comfort dog.

“I’m really excited that we have this opportunity,” DeRoo, a pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, told CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux on Tuesday about her son’s vaccination.

DeRoo added that knowing her youngest son has started his Covid-19 vaccine series, her family will now feel more comfortable participating in certain activities.

“It will certainly allow us to have more freedom with our personal lives and what we do,” DeRoo said. “And for the baby, we’re going to feel like we’ve protected them as best we can.”

Covid-19 vaccinations for children under the age of 5 begin Tuesday in the United States, marking a milestone in the nation’s fight against the disease.

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded Moderna’s emergency vaccine approvals to children 6 months to 17 years and Pfizer/BioNTech to children 6 months to 4 years.

On Saturday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommended Covid-19 vaccinations for children under the age of 5, paving the way for vaccine administration in this age group.

About 17 million children under the age of 5 are now eligible for Covid-19 vaccines.

“This is a big day. We have waited a long time for children to have access to the vaccine. We now have protection from the Covid-19 vaccine for all ages from 6 months in the country now eligible. And I’m telling you, as a father of a 4-year-old, this is a big thing for my family too,” said US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy on Tuesday morning to CNN’s Brianna Keilar.

By the end of Tuesday, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) had shipped about 2.7 million doses of vaccine to children under the age of 5 nationwide.

“An additional 1 million doses have been shipped and will be arriving at administration sites soon,” Tim Granholm, a spokesman for HHS, wrote in an email to CNN on Wednesday morning.

“HHS has received orders for approximately 4.2 million doses to date,” Granholm wrote. “We will continue to deliver vaccines expeditiously as we fill orders and take new ones. We have initially made 10 million vaccine doses available for order and millions more will be available soon, so supply should not be a barrier to someone getting their young child vaccinated. “

Vaccines administered in child-appropriate doses

Per FDA approval, the Moderna vaccine may be given to infants and children ages 6 months to 5 years as a two-dose primary series, with doses spaced four weeks apart at 25 micrograms per dose.

FDA approves Covid-19 vaccines for younger children

While the FDA has approved Moderna’s vaccine for children ages 6 to 17, the CDC has not yet recommended it for this age group, so these vaccines cannot be given yet. FDA approval would allow children ages 6 to 11 to receive doses of 50 micrograms each. For people 12 years and older, it is given in doses of 100 micrograms.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can now be administered as a primary series of three doses of 3 micrograms per dose for use in infants and children aged 6 months to 4 years. The vaccine is given as a two-dose primary series of 10 micrograms per dose for children 5 to 11 years of age and 30 micrograms per dose for adolescents and adults 12 years and older.

Completion of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine series is a lengthy process, with the first two doses being given three weeks apart and the third dose eight weeks later.

dr Jeannette Lee of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, who is a member of the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, expressed concern that children are not getting all three doses.

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“Three doses will certainly be of use. I am very concerned that many of these children will not get a third dose,” Lee said. “My concern is that to really get what you need, you have to get the three cans.”

For children who could turn 4 to 5 at any time during the completion of their Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine line, the CDC recommends two options. The child could complete the primary two-dose series approved for children ages 5 to 11, or they could complete the three-dose series for younger children, but each of doses 2 and 3 can be either the younger child’s or the aged dose from 5 to his 11th

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biologicals Advisory Committee found that the benefits of both vaccines outweigh the risks, noting that the vaccines were “well tolerated” by the children who received them in clinical trials.

According to clinical trial data, common side effects of both vaccines include injection site pain, headache, fever, chills and fatigue. The vaccines appeared to elicit similar immune responses in children as in adults.

Where small children can be vaccinated

Pediatric surgeries and pharmacies are the main places where young children can be vaccinated.

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“We know that parents want their children to be vaccinated in pediatric surgeries. Some people go to a pharmacy, others to a children’s hospital or some kind of community health center,” says Dr. Ashish Jha. the White House Covid-19 response coordinator said Monday on CBS.

“But the bottom line is I think the majority of parents want their child to be vaccinated at their pediatrician’s office,” Jha said. “So many pediatricians will offer the vaccine.”

As for the dispensaries offering these kid-sized vaccines, CVS and Walgreens have announced plans to provide vaccines.

CVS will begin administering Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines to children under the age of five on Tuesday, a communications representative told CNN.

“We will begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to eligible children ages 18 months to four years at our 1,100 MinuteClinic locations beginning Tuesday,” Matt Blanchette, senior manager of retail communications at CVS Pharmacy, told CNN in an email.

“MinuteClinic is located in select CVS pharmacies in 35 states and Washington, DC,” said Blanchette. Appointments are made continuously depending on the vaccine offer.

Blanchette said children over the age of 5 will continue to have access to Covid-19 vaccines at CVS pharmacies.

On Saturday, Walgreens announced in a press release that appointments for infant vaccinations will be available beginning June 25. Walgreens will be vaccinating children ages 3 and up in “select” locations, and appointments can be made online.

Hy-Vee pharmacies will make Covid-19 vaccinations available for children under 5 as soon as doses are available, a communications representative told CNN on Monday.

“Hy-Vee expects to receive its allocations for the newly approved age groups in the coming days,” Tina Potthoff, senior vice president of communications, wrote in an email.

“Once we receive the vaccine and our schedule is open to these age groups, we will post an update on our COVID-19 vaccine landing page, post on our Hy-Vee store Facebook pages and reach out to the media in our eight years . State to make them aware of our pediatric centers accepting appointments.”

Due to federal regulations, she wrote, Hy-Vee will only offer vaccinations to children ages 3 and older.

“Under the PREP Act, retail pharmacies, including Hy-Vee pharmacies, are only authorized to administer vaccines to patients 3 years and older,” Potthoff wrote in the email. “Patients under the age of 3 should see their pediatrician or healthcare provider to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

CNN’s Naomi Thomas and Virginia Langmaid contributed to this report.

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