CDC advisers back Covid vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers

Health advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday recommended Covid-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, the last group without the shots.

The unanimous decision that coronavirus vaccines should be opened to children as young as six months came ahead of a final sign-off from the CDC director, Dr Rochelle Walensky, expected soon .

On Friday, two brands of vaccine, Pfizer and Moderna, were approved by the FDA for children. They will be offered at different dose sizes and number of shots.

Pfizer’s vaccine is for six months through four years and is administered at one-tenth the adult jab with three shots needed – two given three weeks apart and a third at least two months later.

Moderna’s is two shots, each a quarter of the adult dose, will be given about four weeks apart for kids six months through five. The FDA also approved a third dose, at least a month after the second shot, for kids with immune conditions.

About 18 million children will be eligible but it is not known what the take-up is likely to be. Less than one-third of children ages five to 11, approved for vaccination last November, have received the shots.

The government has been gearing up for the start of the shots early next week. Studies show that vaccinated youngsters developed levels of virus-fighting antibodies as strong as young adults.

Two doses of Moderna appeared to be about 40% effective at preventing milder infections; Pfizer presented limited study information suggesting the company saw 80% effectiveness.

“Whatever vaccine your healthcare provider, pediatrician has, that’s what I would give my child,” said Dr Peter Marks, the FDA’s vaccine chief, on Friday.

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