When will a vaccine be available for younger children?

On June 14 and 15, the FDA will meet to review the details of the data from Pfizer and Moderna’s studies after which the public will have a better understanding of how well the vaccines work and any differences between the two regimens. The White House has said that if the FDA authorizes the vaccine after this meeting and the CDC gives the go-ahead, we could expect vaccination to begin as early as June 21.

What do we know about the vaccines for younger children so far?

The Pfizer vaccine is a three-dose regimen of a low dose, one-tenth of the adult dose and the Moderna vaccine is a two-shot regimen at a dose of a quarter that of the adult dose. Preliminary data from Pfizer reported that in a subset of a trial of 1,678 children, the vaccine was found to be 80 percent effective in preventing infection. Moderna’s data showed that the vaccine was 51 percent effective in preventing illness in children between 6 months and 2 years old and 37 percent effective in children ages 2 to 5. We should have a better understanding of the data after the upcoming CDC advisory meeting and will be in touch with members accordingly.

In other pediatric COVID vaccine news…

Two weeks ago, the CDC updated their clinical guidance to recommend that children ages 5–11 receive a booster dose five months after completing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination series. This recommendation is based on data that Pfizer released in April showing that in children ages 5–11, a third dose generated antibodies against both the Omicron variant and the original version of the virus and out of 400 trial participants, no serious adverse effects were reported. As with prior doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the most commonly reported side effects were pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, as well as aches, chills, and fever. The hope is that a third dose will provide children an added layer of protection at a time when protection from their primary series may be waning and cases are again rising nationally.