Her active child sat on her lap at a vaccine clinic organized by the National Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC, while receiving her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The shot was fired in the thigh. He cried for a few seconds, but then his attention turned to a golden retriever who was in place like a comfort dog provided by the hospital.
“I’m very excited to have this opportunity,” DeRoo, a pediatrician at Washington, D.C. National Children’s Hospital, told CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux on Tuesday about her son’s vaccination.
DeRoo added that his family will now feel more comfortable participating in certain activities, knowing that their young son has started his series of vaccines against Covid-19.
“It will definitely allow us to have more freedom with our personal lives and what we do,” DeRoo said. “And as for the baby, we’ll feel like we’ve covered him with as much protection as we can.”
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended emergency use permits for the Moderna vaccine to include children 6 months to 17 years of age and Pfizer / BioNTech for children 6 months to 4 years.
Then, on Saturday, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, signed the Covid-19 vaccines for children under 5, paving the way for the administration of vaccines in this age group.
Some 17 million children under the age of 5 are now eligible for Covid-19 vaccines.
“This is a big day. We have been waiting for children to have access to the vaccine for a long time. We now have all age groups, from 6 months, in the country that is now eligible for protection against Covid- 19. And I will tell you as a parent of a 4-year-old boy, this is also a big problem for my family, “U.S. General Surgeon Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Tuesday morning.
“Another 1 million doses have been sent and will soon be received by administrative sites,” HHS spokesman Tim Granholm wrote in an email to CNN on Wednesday morning.
“HHS has received orders of approximately 4.2 million doses to date,” Granholm wrote. “We will continue to deliver vaccines quickly as we fulfill orders and take new ones. We made 10 million doses of vaccines available to order initially, with millions more available soon, so the supply should not be a barrier for someone to vaccinate their young child. ”
Vaccines administered in child-sized doses
Under FDA authorization, the Modern Vaccine can be given as a two-dose primary series, with doses administered four weeks apart, at 25 micrograms each dose, to infants and children 6 months to 5 years of age. .
Although the FDA has approved the Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 to 17, the CDC has not yet recommended it for this age group, so these vaccinations are not yet available. FDA authorization would allow children between the ages of 6 and 11 to receive doses of 50 micrograms each. For those over 12 years of age, it would be administered in doses of 100 micrograms.
The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine can now be given as a primary series of three doses, at 3 micrograms each dose, for use in infants and children 6 months to 4 years of age. The vaccine is given as a two-dose primary series at 10 micrograms per dose for children aged 5 to 11 years and at 30 micrograms per dose for adolescents and adults from 12 years of age.
Completing the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine series is a longer process, as the first two doses are given three weeks apart, and then the third dose is given eight weeks later.
Dr. Jeannette Lee of the Arkansas University of Medical Sciences, who serves on the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee, expressed concern that children should not complete all three doses.
“Three doses are sure to benefit. I’m very concerned that many of these children will not receive a third dose,” Lee said. “My concern is that you have to get all three doses to really get what you need.”
For children who can go 4 to 5 years at any time while completing their Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine series, the CDC recommends two options. The child may complete the authorized two-dose primary series for children ages 5 to 11, or may complete the three-dose series for younger children, but each of doses 2 and 3 may be the dose for older children. small or 5 to 5 years. 11.
The FDA’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee determined that the benefits of both vaccines outweigh the risks and noted that the vaccines have been “well tolerated” among children who obtained them in clinical trials.
According to clinical trial data, common side effects of both vaccines include injection site pain, headache, fever, chills, and fatigue. Vaccines appeared to elicit similar immune responses in children as seen in adults.
Where young children can be vaccinated
Pediatric clinics and pharmacies are the main places where young children can be vaccinated.
“We know that parents will want to vaccinate their children in pediatrician consultations. Some people will go to a pharmacy, some people will go to a children’s hospital or some kind of community health center,” says Dr. Ashish Jha. the White House Covid-19 response coordinator told CBS Monday.
“But the bottom line is that I think most parents will want to vaccinate their child in their pediatrician’s office,” Jha said. “Therefore, many pediatricians will offer the vaccine.”
As for the pharmacies that offer these childhood-sized vaccines, CVS and Walgreens have announced plans to provide vaccines.
CVS will begin administering Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines to children under the age of five on Tuesday, a communications representative told CNN.
“We will begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for eligible children ages 18 months to four years at our 1,100 MinuteClinic locations starting Tuesday,” Matt Blanchette, senior director of retail communications at CVS Pharmacy, told CNN in an email. .
“MinuteClinic is within select CVS Pharmacy stores in 35 states and Washington, DC,” Blanchette said. Appointments will be available continuously depending on the supply of vaccines.
Blanchette said children over the age of 5 will still be able to access Covid-19 vaccines at CVS pharmacies.
Walgreens announced on Saturday in a press release that appointments for vaccinations in young children will be available from June 25. Walgreens will vaccinate children 3 years of age and older at “selected” sites and appointments can be scheduled online.
Hy-Vee pharmacies will have Covid-19 vaccines available for children under the age of 5 once the doses are available, a communications representative told CNN on Monday.
“Hy-Vee expects to receive its assignments for newly approved age groups in the coming days,” Tina Potthoff, senior vice president of communications, wrote in an email.
“As soon as we receive the vaccine and our appointment scheduler is open for these age groups, we will post an update on our COVID-19 vaccine landing page, we will post on the Facebook pages of our Hy-Vee store and we will contact the media in our eight-state region to let them know about our pediatric centers that accept appointments. ”
Due to federal regulations, he wrote, Hy-Vee will only provide vaccines to children 3 years of age and older.
“Under the PREP Act, retail pharmacies, including Hy-Vee pharmacies, are only allowed to administer vaccines to patients from the age of 3,” Potthoff wrote in the email. “Patients under the age of 3 should visit their pediatrician or health care provider to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”
CNN’s Naomi Thomas and Virginia Langmaid contributed to this report.