COVID-19 shots for youngest children in U.S. could start June 21

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COVID-19 shots for youngest children in U.S. could start June 21

Trixie, an 8 year old resident of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is held as she receives a COVID-19 vaccine under the 94-foot-long blue whale model at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City on November 9, 2021. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Children age five or younger could receive COVID-19 vaccine shots as soon as June 21, The White House said this week.

The age group would be the final group of people in the United States to be eligible for the vaccine.

“We expect the vaccinations will begin in earnest as early as Tuesday, June 21, and really roll on throughout the week,” Dr. Ashish Ja, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said at a briefing on Thursday.

Jha added that if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes vaccines for children younger than 5 following its June 14th advisory meeting, some 10 million doses could then be shipped to doctor’s offices a few days after that.

Any parent who seeks to vaccinate their children from six months through age 4 would be able to do so within weeks after the shots become available, Jha said.

On Thursday, Pfizer announced that it asked the FDA to approve the emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children under 5.

Pfizer and partner BioNTech said on May 23 that late-stage studies have shown that three smaller doses of their COVID-19 vaccine in children younger than 5 are about 80% effective in protecting them from the virus.

Another vaccine producer, Moderna, last month completed its application for a vaccine booster for children below the age of 5, according to Jha.

Dr. Andrea Garcia, director of science, medicine and health at the American Medical Association, said in May that there are an estimated “18 million children who are younger than five in the U.S. and that remains the only population not yet eligible for a COVID vaccine.”

Meanwhile, it remains a challenge to get children ages 5 through 11 vaccinated, officials have said.

As of Thursday, just under 36% of children under age 12 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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