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FDA approves COVID-19 vaccines for preschoolers, toddlers

CVS Health Vaccine Efforts at The Reservoir long term care facility on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (Scott Eisen/CVS Health via AP Images)

One and a half years have passed since COVID-19 vaccines became available for adults across the U.S., with the CDC later approving children ages five to 11 to receive Pfizer’s vaccine in November.

Now, parents will have the option to vaccinate their children with the first COVID-19 shot if they fall between the ages of six months and five years old.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for the age group after several hearings throughout the week, later receiving a unanimous recommendation by its advisory panel.

Children who receive Moderna’s vaccine, which is a quarter of the adult dose, will receive a second shot four weeks later.

As for children who receive Pfizer’s, which is a tenth of the adult dose, they will be given a total of three shots. The first two shots will be within three weeks of each other with the final being administered two months later.

Before the COVID-19 vaccines can be distributed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must discuss the shots and how they will be distributed. A vote will then be cast by the CDC on Saturday with the final word to be announced by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

According to Walensky, pediatric deaths due to COVID-19 have been higher than those caused by the flu.

“So I actually think we need to protect young children, as well as protect everyone with the vaccine and especially protect elders,” Walensky explained.

If approved, the shots could be available to over 18 million children who are in the qualified age range as early as Monday.

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