Following authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control now recommends all children, ages 6 months and up be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
In a statement released from the White House last week, the President regarded potential authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 and under as an “historic milestone in the nation’s fight against the virus.” President Biden called the FDA’s decision this week a “monumental step forward” and quipped, “Everybody knows I like kids better than people.”
The United States notably became the first country to authorize vaccines for children younger than 5. Vaccine makers included in the emergency use authorization are Pfizer and Moderna. A similar announcement has yet to be made in Europe, where Germany joined several other nations on the continent last fall in suspending use of Moderna for individuals under the age of 30 after a small number of people developed myocarditis following vaccination.
Many parents and care givers also expressed reticence to vaccinate their children in the event of authorization. According to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this year, only 18% of parents to children under the age of 5 “are eager to get their children vaccinated right away.” Another 27% of respondents said they would “definitely not” get their child vaccinated, and 11% said they would do so only if required.
The trial for Moderna included a total of 1,700 children ages 6 months through 5 years. Approximately 1,100 vaccine recipients were followed for safety at least two months after receiving the second dose. Available safety data for the Pfizer vaccine derived from approximately 1,170 children who received the vaccine.
A report released earlier this spring suggests that as many as three-quarters of children and adolescents had previously been infected with the COVID-19 virus. Regardless of the presence of antibodies, most within the medical community still maintain that vaccines provide the best and most effective defense against future infection and severity of illness.