Federal health officials claimed last week that Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines, in small doses, seem to be effective and safe for children below the age of five. This is an important step that would enable vaccination for younger children in the U.S.
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) showed its examination of the midweek meeting where experts from outside will vote to decide whether or not the vaccine is ready for the country’s children below age five. This age group is the only one that is ineligible for the vaccine yet. FDA recently posted a similar study of Moderna’s vaccine for kids below the age of six.
Pending approval by regulators, both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines could be available to the U.S. market as soon as the coming week. Parents have been pushing federal officials for the vaccine so that they could protect their young children from Covid-19 as most adults remove masks and stop following public health precautions.
One of the reasons the experts want this group to be protected is that, while the age group has the lowest percentage of overall cases (3%), the death and hospitalization rates for this group are higher than those for children above five, according to the analysis.
According to FDA, children given the Pfizer vaccine in testing stage developed advanced levels of antibodies that were likely to protect them from Covid-19, which is a key metric required for FDA authorization.
Pfizer’s vaccine is given in a series of three shots. According to a study on 10 diagnosed cases, the vaccine showed an effectiveness of 80% in preventing symptomatic Covid-19. As the study continues, the results could differ.
FDA will seek the help of vaccine experts to debate on the data of both Moderna and Pfizer, before voting. However, there is no compulsion to follow the group’s recommendations.
The initial demand for the vaccine is unclear. According to a recent survey, only 20 percent of parents will get the vaccination for their kids as soon as its available. For comparison, the U.S. government states that less than 33% of the children between five and eleven have gotten the recommended two vaccine doses, and those vaccines have been available for use since November 2021.
As it stands, Pfizer is the only pharma company offering Covid-19 vaccine to older children. Pfizer, with its partner BioNTech, aim to offer FDA approved Covid-19 vaccine for young children in three doses. First and second dose to be taken three weeks apart, and a third dose at least 2 months after the second. These doses measure up to be 10% of the adult dosage.
Comparatively, Moderna is to offer two doses, with a gap of four weeks. Each dose a quarter of adult dosage.
According to US health officials, the reported stats for the age group stand at almost 500 deaths and over 30,000 hospitalizations of children under five years old. Last week the government allowed pharmacies to place orders for kid-sized doses, with an initial availability of 5,000,000, production divided equally between Moderna and Pfizer.