Children under age 5 should begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines on or around June 21 if the Food and Drug Administration approves the pediatric shots after a mid-month meeting with advisers, said Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 coordinator.
Dr. Jha said Thursday that states can begin to pre-order COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 on Friday ahead of a looming decision by the FDA, which will convene its advisory committee on June 14 and June 15.
“We expect an FDA decision shortly after the advisory committee [meeting], and we look forward to the process playing out,” Dr. Jha said from the White House briefing room.
Dr. Jha said advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will give the final sign-off before the campaign kicks off with an initial tranche of 10 million doses.
“We’ll move from planning to execution,” Dr. Jha said.
Both Pfizer and Moderna are seeking emergency authorization of their vaccines for the youngest children. Federal agencies were waiting for data on how a third shot would fare against the omicron variant.
A decision to authorize one or both makers’ shots would be a pivotal moment in the vaccine campaign. Roughly 18 million children in the U.S. remain ineligible for any COVID-19 vaccine even as older Americans seek out their fourth shots.
Polling shows some parents are reluctant to get their youngest children vaccinated because COVID-19 because they believe the risk of severe disease in their children is low.
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