Infectious Disease

‘More than enough’ supplies for infant, toddler COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Source/Disclosures

Disclosures:
Fauci, Jha and Walensky report no relevant financial disclosures.

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A White House representative said during a press conference today that “more than enough” COVID-19 vaccine doses were being distributed for the country’s 20 million infants and toddlers.

Last week, following months of review, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted unanimously to recommend that Moderna’s emergency use authorization (EUA) be amended so that children aged 6 months through 5 years can receive a two-dose series , at 25 µg per dose, and that the Pfizer-BioNTech’s EUA be amended to allow infants and children aged 6 months through 4 years to receive a three-dose series, at 3 µg per can. Both vaccines were recommended by the CDC over the weekend.

“More than enough” COVID-19 vaccines for infants and toddlers are being distributed, according to the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator . Source: Adobe Stock

Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, said the availability of the vaccines is an “important moment for parents” and “for families of kids under 5.”

“It’s a historic moment for our nation,” Jha said. “Because essentially, every American from our oldest to our youngest is now eligible for the protection that vaccines provide.”

He added that more than 4 million doses had been delivered to approximately 13,000 vaccination sites across the country. However, he mentioned that the vaccination program for “our littlest Americans” would feel “a little different” than previous programs for adults and adolescents.

“That’s because we know parents will be turning to their pediatricians and their family physicians,” Jha said. “We have been guided in our approach by very clear data that say that most parents want to vaccinate their littlest ones in familiar settings. We also know that many parents have questions, and we want to encourage every parent to talk to their physician, to talk to the pediatrician, to talk to the family physician. We also know that confidence in vaccines builds over time.”

He noted that pharmacy chains such as Walgreens, CVS and Walmart were “already vaccinating children,” as well as many private clinics and community organizations.

During the press conference, CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyMD, MPH, said there had been a “great deal of anticipation” for parents surrounding the vaccines’ authorization and recommendation,” especially during the omicron wave.

Rochelle Walensky

“During the omicron wave, we saw a huge spike in COVID-19 cases in children and the highest hospitalization rates in children than at any other point during this pandemic, especially among our youngest ages — 6 months through 4 years — who have the highest rate of hospitalization among any age group under the age of 17,” Walensky said. “Since January 2020, we’ve lost 215 children aged 6 months to 4 years to COVID-19.”

Anthony S Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to the president, discussed the clinical trials of the authorized vaccines, noting in particular that there were no cases of myocarditis or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in Moderna’s study of children.

Anthony S Fauci

“The known potential benefits clearly outweigh the known and potential risks in this pediatric population,” Fauci said.

Jha emphasized that there was enough vaccine to go around.

“Let me be very clear: We have more than enough Moderna and Pfizer for every child who wants one, or every parent of a child who wants one, for this pediatric vaccine campaign,” he said.

Additionally, today the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 15-0 to recommend a two-dose series of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12 through 17 years at 100 µg per dose, and a two-dose series at 50 µg per dose for children aged 6 through 11 years.

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