United States ready with vaccines for kids under five


US President Joe Biden described the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement recommending the first Covid 19 vaccines for kids under the age of five as a “monumental step forward in the nation’s fight against the virus” on Saturday, June 18.

“This is a day of relief and celebration for parents all over the country,” Biden said. “As the first country to protect our youngest children with Covid 19 vaccines, my administration has been planning and preparing for this moment for months, effectively securing doses and offering safe and highly effective mRNA vaccines for all children as young as six months old.”

Biden said with the vaccination program for the children under the age of five, every American from the age of six month onwards was eligible for protections that Covid 19 vaccines provide, and the country is ready to build on the progress of the historic vaccination program that has resulted in over 220 million fully vaccinated Americans, more than 100 million boosted and over two million lives saved.

The US regulators, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized and recommended the first COVID-19 vaccines for kids under the age of five.

An official statement from the CDC said that the parents and caregivers can now get their children 6 months through 5 years of age vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines to better protect them from COVID-19. All children, including children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated. Vaccines for the below five kids would be available at pediatrician’s offices, children’s hospitals and pharmacies.

“In the coming weeks, every parent who wants a vaccine will be able to get one. As the vaccination program ramps up. Vaccine availability and appointments would be ramped throughout the week,” Biden said.

Biden assured that the vaccines are safe, highly effective, and will give parents the peace of mind of knowing their child is protected from the worst outcomes of COVID-19.

“If you are a parent who wants to protect your child, I urge you to speak with your child’s pediatrician and make a plan to get your child vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available to you,” he said.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky termed it an important step in the fight against COVID 19 and said that the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines available here in the US can be used safely and effectively in children under five.

She encouraged the parents to get their children vaccinated against COVID 19 and said that with this recent authorization from FDA and recommendation from CDC, nearly 20 million children are now able to get vaccinated against COVID 19.

The CDC recommended parents and caregivers to sign in personalized and confidential health check-ins via text messages and web surveys for their children, in order to monitor the safety of the vaccines.With this, they can easily share with CDC how a child feels after getting a COVID 19 vaccine, read the official statement. The US government’s decision to get vaccines comes at a time when in India and Europe have seen a surge of Covid 19’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of the Omicron, which are being monitored by the World Health Organization (WHO) since March 2022.

“BA.2 id dominant worldwide and BA.2 is dominant in the US, while BA.4 and BA.5 are increasing around the world,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead for Covid 19 response at the WHO early this week.