On Thursday, a top federal health official said that the first coronavirus vaccines for children younger than 5 could be administered by the Biden administration as early as June 21.
“I want to be very clear that I am not here to prejudge the outcome of the process,” Dr. Jha, President Biden’s coronavirus response coordinator said. “But the administration is hard at work planning all sorts of scenarios based on whatever the outcome is.”
Dr. Jha said that the administration, along with health care professionals and pediatricians, has worked to communicate with the states to distribute the doses first to sites where children are most vulnerable and susceptible to the pandemic.
Even though for the first time, parents in the US hear about the closing opportunity of getting their children vaccinated, not all are eager. A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that just 18 percent of parents with children under 5 said they would get them vaccinated right away; 38 percent put themselves in the “wait and see” category and 27 percent said they would “definitely not” get their children vaccinated.
Not only is the timeline for the public use of this vaccine for children a very tentative one, but the details of the vaccine also remain ambiguous. The decision on the authorization of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech doses is still up for discussion. An outside panel of experts for the F.D.A. will meet to discuss this on June 15.
If authorization is granted, a C.D.C expert panel will soon make recommendations about the specific use of the vaccines. If this process can be completed by June 17, Dr. Jha said, the nearest date that parents can get their children vaccinated would be June 21.
The Biden administration initially planned the shots to be offered as early as February, but that timeline was pushed back, partly due to Pfizer vaccines’ impotence against the new Omicron variant.
Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that, from their preliminary findings, three doses of their coronavirus vaccine had been 80 percent effective in preventing symptomatic infection in a subset of the 1,678 trial participants, who were 6 months through 4 years old. Pfizer added that on Wednesday, it had completed its application for emergency authorization.
Moderna’s request for authorization for its coronavirus vaccine for children under 6 has been pending since April. Moderna has also applied for emergency authorization of its vaccine for children 6 to 17; the F.D.A.’s advisory committee will meet to discuss that application on June 14.
The Moderna dosage is one-quarter of the dosage given to adults; Pfizer’s is one-tenth of the dose strength for adults.