Washington DC. (CW44 News at 10 | CNN) — The US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization Friday for both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Vaccines for young children. Vaccine advisors from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously In support of giving Kovid-19 vaccination to children under 6 months of age and other children on Saturday.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky signed off on the plan, paving the way for vaccination early next week.
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An April survey found that parents may be reluctant to receive them when they are actually available. According to the April Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor survey, just 18% of parents of children under 5 said they would vaccinate their child against COVID-19 as soon as a vaccine is available.
About 40% of those surveyed said they would “wait and see” before vaccinating their young children, 11% said they would get the vaccine for their children only when needed, and 27% said That they will “definitely not” get Covid-19. vaccination of their child.
Even parents who are eager to get vaccinated have questions. How confident should they be about the FDA’s decision? When will vaccines be available for young children, and how will families access them? Which vaccine is better, Pfizer or Moderna? If my child has already had COVID-19, should he still get vaccinated? And what if my child turns 5 too soon – should I stop?
I spoke with CNN medical analyst Dr. Lena Wayne, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. She is also the mother of two children under the age of 5 in “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health”.
The following conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
CNN: How are you feeling about the FDA’s decision?
Dr. Lena Wayne: I am thrilled and very relieved. It’s been a year and a half since adults first started getting the Kovid-19 vaccine. About 17 million children are not yet eligible for vaccination, and FDA authorization was a major hurdle that had to be overcome. Now that the CDC has recommended both vaccines as well, I’m really looking forward to getting my young children — ages 2 and about 5 — the same exceptional protection that my husband and I have.
The FDA and its external advisors went through a rigorous process and independently analyzed data submitted by Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna. They found that three doses of the Pfizer vaccine and two doses of Moderna Vaccine were safe and produced a strong immune response, similar to the antibody response seen in young adults. They also found that both vaccines reduced symptomatic infections in this younger age group.
I am convinced of the thorough, careful, and deliberate process this regulatory agency has put in place, and, when CDC goes ahead, as I hope, I will call my pediatrician to get both of my children vaccinated.
CNN: When do you think vaccines will be available for children under the age of 5, and how should parents and caregivers access them?
Wayne: Pending the CDC’s ruling, which came on Saturday, states were already able to order vaccines, meaning some doctors’ offices, community health centers, health departments and pharmacies may have them in stock. And may be ready to deliver by next week.
The first place I would encourage anxious parents to consult is their pediatrician’s office. Parents are accustomed to vaccinating children there, and the pediatrician will know when and whether they plan to give the Covid-19 vaccine. If they do not plan to carry the vaccine, they will be able to recommend other reliable places in the community.
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You can also contact your local pharmacies, although note that many pharmacies may not be equipped to give the shot to young children. Your local city or county health department and state health department may also have resources, as will children’s hospitals in your area.
CNN: How will parents choose between Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines for their children?
Wayne: Both vaccines are safe, and both are effective. Both vaccines induce strong antibody levels, which correlate with protection against serious disease in older age. Preliminary results indicate that the three-dose Pfizer vaccine is more effective in preventing symptomatic infection – although these are preliminary studies – and both vaccines induce stronger antibody levels, which correlate with protection against severe disease in older age groups.
I think there will be a variety of parenting preferences here. There are some parents who are eager to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible. In that case, the two-dose Moderna vaccine may be preferable, as the second dose is given four weeks after the first, and two weeks after that, their child will be considered fully vaccinated. If a child starts the series next week, they can be fully vaccinated by mid-August and in time for the next school year.
Some other parents want their children to have the highest level of protection, even if it takes longer. Or, they may feel more reassured from Pfizer because it has been given to children ages 5-11 over the months. The Pfizer three-dose vaccine definitely takes longer. The first two doses are given at three-week intervals, then the third dose is given two months after the second. So it will take until at least mid-September for a child to be fully vaccinated from Pfizer, even if they get their first dose next week. The dosage of the Pfizer vaccine is also lower than that of Moderna, which some parents may even prefer, although there does not appear to be a difference in the degree of potential side effects – such as fever, fatigue, and irritability – associated with the different doses. Is.
Still other parents want to give their kids everything they already have. I think these are all reasonable decisions, as the CDC recommends both vaccines equally.
CNN: What about children who have already had COVID-19? Should they still be vaccinated?
Wayne: Yes. Vaccination after recovery from infection provides more durable and longer-lasting protection than recovery alone. I expect the CDC to address the question of how long children should wait to be vaccinated after recovering from the coronavirus at their meeting. The CDC has clarified that children who have had COVID-19 should still be vaccinated.
CNN: Should 5-year-olds wait to get a higher dose sooner or get vaccinated now?
Wayne: No, they shouldn’t wait. The CDC is following the guidance previously used for the 5- to 11-year-old group, which says that 11-year-olds — and in this case, 4-year-olds — shouldn’t wait. Start the vaccination process now, and then when the child is 5 years old, he or she may receive a higher dose.
CNN: What if parents are unsure about vaccines and want to wait and see?
Wayne: I believe that all parents want the best for their children. My best advice is to talk to your pediatrician, whom you trust, for other aspects of guidance on your child’s health. Personally, I feel very confident of the thorough and meticulous process put in place by our federal regulatory agencies and can’t wait to give our children a safe vaccine that helps protect them from coronavirus.
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