NEW YORK – Vaccines offer young children protection against hospitalization, death and potential long-term complications that are not yet clearly understood, according to an advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). acronym in English).
The government has been preparing for the start of the vaccine expansion, with millions of doses ordered for distribution to doctors, hospitals and health clinics across the country.
Approximately 18 million children are eligible to receive the doses, but it remains to be seen how many actually get inoculated. Fewer than a third of children aged five to 11 have received the shot since vaccination began for them in November last year.
Here are some facts you need to know:
WHAT ARE THE VACCINES AVAILABLE?
Two brands, Pfizer and Moderna, received clearance from the FDA on Friday and from the CDC on Saturday. The vaccines use the same technology, but are offered in different dose sizes and number of shots for younger children.
Pfizer’s vaccine is for children six months to four years. The dose is one-tenth that of adults, and three injections are needed. The first two are administered with an interval of three weeks, and the last one at least two months later.
Moderna’s is two injections, each a quarter of the adult dose, given four weeks apart for children six months to five years.. The FDA has also approved a third dose, at least a month after the second, for children with immune problems that make them more vulnerable to serious illness.
HOW WELL DO THEY WORK?
In studies, vaccinated minors developed levels of antibodies against the virus as strong as those recorded in young adultssuggesting that child-sized doses protect against coronavirus infections.
However, it is difficult to determine exactly its effectiveness, especially when it comes to the vaccine developed by Pfizer.
Two doses of Moderna appeared to be only 40% effective in preventing the mildest infections at a time when the Omicron variant was causing the majority of COVID-19 illnesses. Pfizer presented study data that suggested the company saw 80% effectiveness with its three injections. But Pfizer’s data was so limited, and based on such a small number of cases, that experts and federal officials don’t believe a reliable estimate yet exists.
SHOULD I VACCINATE MY YOUNG CHILD?
Yes, according to CDC advisors. Although COVID-19 has been most dangerous for older adults, younger people, including children, can also get seriously ill.
Hospitalizations skyrocketed during the Omicron-driven surge. Since the start of the pandemic, some 480 children under the age of five are among the more than 1 million deaths from COVID-19 in the country, according to federal data.
In a statement Saturday, President Joe Biden urged parents to get their young children vaccinated as soon as possible.
The official is fully vaccinated and has received the two reinforcements of the coronavirus vaccine.
WHAT VACCINE SHOULD I GET?
Any one of them, said Dr. Peter Marks, director of vaccines for the FDA.
“Whatever vaccine your health care provider or your pediatrician has is the one I would give my child,” Marks said Friday.
The doses haven’t been tested against each other, so experts say there’s no way to tell which one is better.
Something to consider: Pfizer’s three-vaccine series takes about three months to complete, while Moderna’s two vaccines only take one month. Therefore, families who want to protect their children quickly could opt for Moderna.
WHO ADMINISTERS THE VACCINES?
Pediatricians, other primary care physicians, and children’s hospitals plan to supply the vaccines. A limited number of pharmacies will offer them for at least part of the under-five group.
CAN CHILDREN BE GIVEN OTHER VACCINES AT THE SAME TIME?
It is common for young children to receive more than one vaccine during a visit to the doctor.
In the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine studies in infants and young children, no other vaccines were given at the same time, so there is no data on possible side effects when this occurs.
However, no problems have been seen in older children or adults when COVID-19 vaccines and other injections are given together, and the CDC says it’s also safe for younger children.
WHAT IF MY CHILD RECENTLY HAD COVID-19?
It is estimated that about three quarters of children of all ages have been infected at some point. For older ages, the CDC has recommended vaccination anyway to reduce the chances of another infection.
Experts have observed cases of re-infection among previously infected people and noted that the highest levels of protection occur in those who were vaccinated and had had the disease.
The CDC has indicated that people can consider waiting about three months after an infection to get vaccinated.