COVID Vaccine Approved for Children Under Five

Posted by on Jun 30, 2022 in Current Events

There are approximately nineteen million children under five years old living in the United States. Until recently these children were not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. On June 9, 2022, the White House announced a plan to encourage vaccination for children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old. Here, btw takes a closer look at the decision and how it will impact American families. 

The Process 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized use of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines on June 17th. The following day, the CDC agreed unanimously that the vaccine is a responsible choice for children under five. It announced that there are no serious negative side effects from taking it. Although the smaller child dose is not quite as effective as the adult version, it’s still very effective against hospitalization and death from COVID. 

Doctor vaccinating little baby in hospital
There is now a COVID vaccine available for those younger than 5 years-old.

The Plan 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration developed a plan to distribute the vaccine to young children all over the country. According to the White House, 85 percent of children under age five live within five miles of a potential vaccination site. The plan had four key points: 

  • Making sure that enough doses of the vaccine are available (as well as all of the supplies necessary to administer them, including smaller needles);  
  • Making sure that the doses are available at convenient locations, such as doctors’ offices, community centers, children’s hospitals, and public health clinics;  
  • Providing parents and families with information about how and where to access the vaccine (with a focus on the hardest-hit and most at-risk communities);  
  • Supporting education and engagement efforts to build trust with families about the benefits of the vaccine. 

The Challenges 

There are additional challenges in distributing this vaccine to this age group. Most adults and older children were vaccinated in pharmacies or other distribution sites. Some pharmacies, however, don’t feel they have the space or the necessary relationship with parents to administer the vaccine to babies and small children. Also, unlike other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine comes in a pack of ten. Once the pack comes out of refrigeration, it’s only good for a few hours. Many pediatricians’ offices are afraid to order the vaccine because they worry about spending money on wasted doses. Also, the minimum order for doctors is one hundred doses. Pediatricians in small or rural communities need to calculate that expense against their customer data to see if they may lose money. 

What Happens Next 

For families planning to vaccinate their child, experts recommend checking to locate providers in their area. Children under five will receive three doses of the Pfizer vaccine, or two doses of the Moderna vaccine. There will be a booster after the original doses. 

Dig Deeper Young children are often afraid of shots. Create a poster showing young children why it’s a good idea to get their COVID-19 vaccination. (Remember that children this young often can’t read, so include lots of pictures and bright colors!)