Washington [US], June 3 (ANI): COVID-19 vaccinations for children under the age of five are expected to begin as early as June 21, White House Covid response coordinator Dr Ashish Jha said.
"We expect vaccinations will begin in earnest as early as Tuesday, June 21, and really roll on throughout that week," the White House COVID-19 response coordinator said addressing the media on Thursday (local time).
The Hill reported that an FDA advisory committee is scheduled to meet on June 14 and 15 to consider the applications from Pfizer and Moderna, and Jha said a decision on authorization is expected "soon thereafter."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would then also have to sign off.
As of now, only about 30 per cent of children 5 to 11 have been vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Last month, Pfizer released encouraging data which showed its vaccine for young children was about 80 per cent effective after the third shot, The Hill reported. The application had previously been delayed to wait for data from a third dose.
Jha said there is "plenty of supply" of the vaccine for young children and that 10 million doses will initially be released to states, pharmacies and community health centers.
States can start ordering the vaccines on Friday, but the doses cannot ship until the FDA gives its authorization.
Parents have been waiting months for the FDA to authorize the shots for kids under age 5, which is the only group left in the US not eligible for COVID vaccination.
Though Covid is normally less severe in children than adults, hospitalizations of kids under age 5 were five times higher during the winter omicron surge compared to the peak during the previous delta wave, according to the CDC.
Pfizer said its three-dose vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years old was 80 per cent effective at preventing illness from the omicron variant. The shots are three micrograms, one-tenth the dosage level for adults, CNBC reported.
Moderna said its two-dose vaccine was about 51 per cent effective against infection from omicron in children under 2 and about 37 per cent effective among those 2 through 5, it further reported. (ANI)