In the US, nearly 20 million children under the age of 5 are not yet vaccinated. However, the situation is likely to change soon as Pfizer seeks FDA approval for an extra-low dose of the Covid vaccine that can be given to kids under the age of 5.
Covid Vaccines For Kids Under 5 – Pfizer Seeks FDA Approval
Interestingly, the demand for vaccinating the kids has grown rapidly in this third wave of the pandemic as Omicron has infected many kids across the US. Children were largely spared from covid infections during the first and second waves of the pandemic. However, Omicron has infected many kids and also caused an increase in hospitalizations in this age group.
Pediatric doctors have seen the desperation of parents increase in this Omicron wave as kids are vulnerable when they go to schools and other public places. Doctors are hopeful that the vaccines for kids under five may become available in the next few months if the FDA approves in the coming days.
According to Pfizer, the vaccines can be given to kids in very low doses, amounting to about a tenth of the actual dose given to adults. Children above the age of six months are likely to be eligible for the low-dose vaccines. The company has already provided all the necessary details to the FDA and expects approval in a week.
However, the details about the number of doses required for kids are not yet clear. In early trials, two shots of the low dose were good enough for preschoolers, but it was too strong for babies. The FDA is likely to take into consideration all these aspects while granting approval in the coming days.
The FDA is following all the required protocols to approve the vaccine for kids, and it has sought the suggestions of independent physicians and researchers. After considering different voices from all corners, the organization is likely to grant permission to use the low-dose vaccine for kids under the age of 5.
Experts feel that the FDA has taken proactive steps due to the rising number of Omicron cases among children. After getting approval from FDA, the vaccine has to get the necessary permission from the CDC before it becomes available in the market.
However, the vaccination data indicates that the demand for vaccines among children is not too high. In the age group of 12-17, only about half of the eligible kids are vaccinated at the moment. In the age group of 5-11, only about 20% of the eligible kids are vaccinated.
Experts feel that a similar trend will be seen in the age group of less than 5. Only a few parents who are concerned about the infection are eager to get their kids vaccinated, and the majority still feel that vaccinating kids is not needed to control the infection.
It is evident from past data that young children are not likely to show severe symptoms during a Covid infection. Due to this trend, many parents are not too eager to get their kids vaccinated.
They also believe that vaccination is an unwanted burden on the kids, and children have natural immunity against different infections. However, experts warn that kids are equally vulnerable to Covid infections, and vaccinating them should be a top priority to control the pandemic.
The Pfizer vaccines are likely to be given in two doses with a gap of three weeks between the doses. The company is also looking at a third dose that can be given after two months from the second dose. However, the number of doses may vary depending on the age of the children.