White House Lays Out Plan To Get COVID-19 Vaccines To Kids Under 5

As parents across the country have long awaited a vaccine against the coronavirus for young children, doses for kids younger than 5 could be available as soon as June 21, according to the Biden administration.

A year and a half after vaccines were made available to older U.S. adults in January 2021, senior administration officials laid out a plan to get vaccines to toddlers and babies on a press call Wednesday.

By the middle of next week, the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee is expected to meet to decide whether to authorize the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children under 5. Then, later in the week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would decide whether to recommend the vaccines.

Pending FDA and CDC authorization, the Biden administration would immediately begin shipping doses across the country, with 10 million vaccine doses available for states, community health centers and pharmacies to pre-order, and millions more available in the following weeks.

Parents will be able to get their kids vaccinated at pediatricians’ and other doctors’ offices, community health centers, children’s hospitals, local pharmacies and other community organizations.

The administration also plans to work with libraries and children’s museums, as well as Black, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander and Native community groups to raise awareness and answer questions about the vaccine. They’ll be reaching out to parents through federal programs including WIC, SNAP, Medicaid and Head Start.

Currently, vaccines are available only for children 5 and older and for adults. About two-thirds of Americans have been fully vaccinated so far. If vaccines are authorized for children under 5, nearly everyone in the U.S. would be eligible for the protection against the virus.

Pfizer said late last month that three doses of its vaccine offer strong protection for toddlers and babies ages 6 months to 4 years old, and the company was providing its data to U.S. regulators. Moderna was also hoping to get approval to provide two doses of its vaccine for little kids sometime this summer.

While coronavirus cases are currently far lower than they were during the major winter spike, COVID-19 cases have still risen significantly in recent weeks, with cases more than tripling over the last two months across the country. More than 300 people on average are dying of COVID-19 complications each day.

Last month, the U.S. surpassed a horrific milestone of 1 million people dead from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

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