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Update, June 17: The FDA released a statement this morning authorizing the use of both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines down to age 6 months.
Moderna’s vaccine is also now FDA-authorized for children ages 6 months through 17 years. The vaccine was already authorized for people age 18 and up.
Pfizer’s vaccine is now FDA-authorized for children ages 6 months through 4 years. The vaccine was already authorized for people age 5 and up.
Yesterday, June 15, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) recommended the FDA authorize two COVID-19 vaccines for young children. Both companies conducted extensive trials to ensure the vaccines are safe and effective.
Where we are in the process
Before parents can start getting their children vaccinated, the FDA must approve VRBPAC’s authorization. Then, an independent panel of experts that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will meet tomorrow, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, to review the FDA’s authorizations.
The ACIP will then present a recommendation to the CDC director, who then makes a recommendation. If that happens, most states can then begin vaccinating children under age 5.
In Oregon, Washington, California, and Nevada, there’s one more step. These states are part of the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup (WSSSRW), which reviews CDC recommendations. This group is scheduled to meet this Saturday, June 18, after the CDC releases its recommendation.
If WSSSRW gives its approval, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown must then review and approve.
Where to find a vaccine
If the vaccines are authorized for children under age 5, parents and caregivers interested in vaccinating their young children next week should first call their pediatrician or local public health clinic to ask if the vaccines are available. Monday, June 20, is a federal holiday in recognition of Juneteenth, and some clinics may not be open. Check out our blog for vaccination clinic locations, as well as the vaccine locator map at Get Vaccinated Oregon for additional sites.
Other vaccine authorizations
The FDA’s advisory committee also voted to authorize Moderna’s vaccine for children ages 6 years through 17. Previously, it was only authorized for people 18 years and older. This authorization will go through the same review process described above. Supply of this vaccine may be delayed, so parents and caregivers should call their providers, clinics or local pharmacies to make sure they have this vaccine.
The FDA’s advisory committee also recommended the FDA authorize the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for adults 18 and up. However, the FDA has delayed authorizing Novavax until further review.
Regarding babies under 6 months of age, a recent study found that when pregnant people complete a primary COVID-19 vaccine series during pregnancy (Moderna or Pfizer), their newborns are well-protected against severe COVID-19 illness during their first six months of life.
Click on the image below for a full comparison of the two new pediatric vaccines under consideration.