The Food and Drug Administration has authorized the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for kids as young as six months old, finding them both safe and effective.
“Many parents, caregivers and clinicians have been waiting for a vaccine for younger children and this action will help protect those down to 6 months of age. As we have seen with older age groups, we expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in a press release Friday.
This comes after the FDA’s committee of independent experts voted to recommend the Moderna vaccine for kids under 6, which is a two-dose vaccine, and the Pfizer vaccine for kids under 5, which is a three-dose vaccine, on Wednesday. Both votes were unanimous.
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The final step in the process is a recommendation from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, after which shots can be administered in doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and other locations.
The FDA authorization means the federal government can begin shipping doses out to states to get ready to go in arms.
Both Pfizer and Moderna’s CEOs said in statements they’re proud to finally be able to offer a vaccine option for parents of the youngest kids.
“Children need to live highly social lives to develop and flourish. With this authorization, caregivers for young children ages 6 months through 5 years of age finally have a way to safeguard against COVID risks in classroom and daycare settings,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna.
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Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, said they are “grateful” to those who enrolled children in the clinical trial to make the authorization possible.
“Those trusted with the care of children can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of these COVID-19 vaccines and can be assured that the agency was thorough in its evaluation of the data,” Califf said in the Friday statement.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.