Tuesday, March 28, 2023

US launches COVID vaccine for babies under six months

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday recommended COVID-19 vaccines for children under six months of age, with a nationwide rollout to begin next week.

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The CDC’s move comes after a panel of advisors to the institution voted on Saturday to recommend COVID-19 vaccines for those children.

“We know that millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision they can do so,” CDC Director Rochelle Valensky said in a statement.

The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized Moderna Inc’s shot for children aged six months to five years and Pfizer-BioNtech’s vaccine for children aged six months to four years. Pfizer’s vaccine is already authorized for children over the age of five.

“This infection kills children and we have an opportunity to stop it,” Beth Bell, one of the doctors on the advisory panel, said after the vote. “Here’s an opportunity to stop a known risk.”

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement that the move was a “historic milestone”.

President Joe Biden’s administration plans to introduce vaccines for the under-five age group as early as next week.

“This coming week, parents will be able to begin scheduling appointments at places like pediatricians’ offices, children’s hospitals and pharmacies,” Biden said in a statement on Saturday.

“As more doses will accelerate appointments, and in the coming weeks, every parent who wants a vaccine will be able to get one. As the vaccination schedule picks up, vaccines.gov will go live next week, with vaccine availability and appointments increasing throughout the week.

While many parents in the United States are eager to get their children vaccinated, it is unclear how strong the demand for the shots will be. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized in October for children ages 5 to 11, but only 29 percent of that group has been fully vaccinated so far, federal data shows.

CVS Health Corp. plans to make the vaccines available to children 18 months and older, while Rite Aid Corp. and Walmart Inc. plan to offer these shots to children who are at least three years old. Babies are traditionally vaccinated in a doctor’s office.

Public health officials are pushing for childhood vaccinations before the new school year because they hope shots for the age group will help prevent hospitalizations and deaths if COVID-19 cases rise again.

COVID-19 is usually milder in children. According to the CDC, since March 2020 it has been the fifth leading cause of death among children aged 1-4 years and the fourth leading cause of death in children under one.

CDC advisors will meet again next week to consider whether to use Moderna Vaccine for children and teens ages 6-17. There is some concern about the rate of rare cases of heart inflammation in teenage boys and youth from Moderna Vaccine, and consultants are expected to consider that data.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia abandons COVID-19 measures including requiring indoor masks, vaccine

UAE achieves 100% COVID-19 vaccination target

Smallpox vaccine provides 85 percent protection against monkeypox virus: UAE expert

Nation World News Desk
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