After successfully submitting data from their respective clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized and recommended for Emergency Use (EUA) for our youngest population – 6 months through 4 years for Pfizer, and 6 months through 5 years for Moderna. The process entailed a thorough review of the available data from both vaccine manufacturers by the U.S Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Infection (CDC) Director. The authorization of this vaccine, and the eventual vaccination of our youngest population, brings us closer to protecting them from COVID-19.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for use in children aged 6 months to 4 years. It is a three-dose series with three weeks between the first two doses and eight weeks between doses two and three. The Moderna vaccine has been approved for children 6 months to 5 years and is a two-dose series, with the doses four weeks apart.
Local Health Departments will again play a vital role in the vaccination of this population. The CDC has updated their COVID-19 Pediatric Planning Guide which highlights important considerations in preparing to administer and distribute these vaccines. Additional considerations include:
Equity in Childhood COVID-19 Vaccination: COVID-19 vaccine equity is when all people who are eligible, including children, have fair and just access to COVID-19 vaccination. However, there are children that face barriers to vaccination, including those who are experiencing homelessness, racial and ethnic minority groups, and/or those with developmental disabilities. Local health departments will play a significant role in ensuring equitable vaccine rollout.
Partners for Childhood COVID-19 Vaccination: Communities can partner with local providers to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to children to ensure access to the vaccines. These partners may include pediatricians, pharmacies, community clinics, schools and school districts, early education centers and community organizations. Local Health Departments will play a significant role in ensuring that these partnerships occur.
CDC and others have released several additional resources to assist with planning for administering pediatric vaccines, including:
- CDC’s Updated Pediatric Planning Guide
- CDC’s COVID Vaccination for Children Webpage
- Pfizer’s webinar series to educate providers and immunization staff on proper use of the Pfizer vaccine, including updates on the pediatric vaccines.
- The Public Health Collaborative’s Answers to Tough Questions on Pediatric COVID Vaccines
CDC will also be hosting an All-State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial (STLT) Update Call on Tuesday, June 21st to provide information and updates on the approval of these vaccines. Register for the call here.