The White House ready to vaccinate children under 5


June 9, 2022 — Parents anxiously awaiting the official announcement that they can have their children under 5 vaccinated against COVID-19 may find relief as early as the week of June 20, officials said today. American officials.

It all depends on whether the FDA decides to grant an emergency use authorization (EUA) at a meeting scheduled for June 14-15, followed by CDC use recommendations expected on June 17 or 18.

“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time – more than 2 years after the start of COVID-19 pandemic and almost 18 months after the first series of vaccines became available for adults,” said Ashish Jha, MD, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, during a White House COVID-19 Response Team press briefing on June 9. .

Although it doesn’t want to speculate how the two agencies might act, the White House has already pre-ordered 10 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines for this age group. White House officials are also stepping up partnerships with community organizations; alert paediatricians, family doctors and pharmacists to be ready; and the preparation of an education campaign to combat vaccine misinformation and to help educate parents about the safety and effectiveness data of these vaccines.

Unlike the clearance in children ages 5 to 11, this time the FDA and CDC are considering two vaccines at once.

“So what we’re gonna do [vaccines] widely available in a variety of different places and channels, I suspect many more parents will be getting their children vaccinated at doctors’ offices,” Jha said.

Successful vaccination in this age group will rely in part on community partnerships and education by “trusted messengers”, which include pediatricians, family physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, said US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD. “Our nation needs your help…to keep our youngest safe. Your role could not be more vital at this time.”

Parents want to be ‘absolutely sure’

Parents are “understandably cautious” about vaccinating children in this youngest age group, Murthy said. “I say this as a parent myself of a 4-year-old. They want to be absolutely sure they have the right information.”

“We parents want to make sure that everything we give our children has undergone rigorous scientific evaluation and is both safe and effective,” Murthy said.

It may take more than one conversation with a trusted messenger to reassure some parents, Murthy said, and the planned national public education campaign could help answer many questions parents may have. But at the same time, more than 30,000 children under the age of 5 in the United States have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and nearly 500 deaths have been reported in this group.

Regarding reassurance, “The data on children over 5 and vaccines is clear. Children are better protected and they fare better if they are vaccinated,” Jha said.

Wide availability, equitable access

Dawn O’Connell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Preparedness and Response, joined Jha and Murthy at the briefing. Pre-ordering the 10 million vaccine doses, she said, “allows us to [provide] communities with enough vaccines so that they are easily accessible and equitably distributed across the country. »

“We also have states and other partners to ensure fairness, prioritizing sites that will vaccinate children most at risk of severe COVID-19 disease,” O’Connell said.

Murthy agreed on the importance of this approach. “As before, we will ensure that equity is central to our approach as we work hard to deliver vaccines to our hardest hit communities.”

Anticipation – for now

Again, everything currently depends on the decisions of the FDA and the CDC.

“We’re not in the forecasting business, we’re in the planning business,” O’Connell said. “Our teams are working hard to plan for the possibility that the FDA and CDC will give the green light in the near future. Our goal is clear: to be ready to quickly and efficiently provide vaccines for children under 5 to communities across the country.”

Jha said we may soon witness a milestone.

“Let’s actually take a moment to realize what a historic moment it is if the FDA and CDC are recommending these vaccines. It would mean that for the first time, virtually all Americans, from the oldest to the youngest, would be eligible for the protection offered by vaccines.”

Frustrated with future finances

Federal funding to support vaccination of younger Americans is available. But Jha said the White House can no longer wait for Congress to act and approve additional funding for next-generation vaccines and other COVID-19 resources that may be needed as early as the fall.

Instead, the White House decided to take the money allocated for manufacturing national tests and stockpiling personal protective equipment (PPE) and shift the funding to vaccines and therapies, like The Washington Post reported June 8.

“What you heard yesterday was that we were making a series of very painful decisions, pulling resources away from what we believe to be life-saving programs to make sure we’re at the table when it comes to buy the next generation of vaccines, to make sure we have enough therapeutics for Americans heading into the fall and winter,” Jha said.

“These are very, very difficult choices,” he said.

Murthy agreed.

“We have learned from past public health emergencies that when we fail to sustain our focus and funding for public health interventions, the cost of that failure can be measured in illnesses contracted and lives lost.”

Jha noted that there is a misperception “some people have this because we are in a better place, we don’t need to fund this anymore”. Instead, he said the opposite was true. “We have demonstrated that we can bring the country to a better place, he added, and “it is particularly important that we maintain and support this effort to see us through the rest of this pandemic. “

“The bottom line here is that these aren’t the compromises we should have to make at this point in the pandemic,” Jha said. “We shouldn’t have to choose between testing and vaccines. We should be able to do both. We can do both, but we need Congress to be engaged and to be a partner in this effort.”



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