June 17 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorized two COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5, opening the door to vaccinating millions of the country’s youngest children once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees.
The FDA authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s (PFE.N), COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 6 months to 4 years and Moderna Inc’s (MRNA.O) shot for those 6 months to 17 years. Pfizer’s is already authorized for those over the age of 5.
The vaccines could be rolled out to the under-5 age groups as early as next week, White House officials have said. The CDC needs to make its recommendations on how the shots should be administered before a vaccination campaign can begin in earnest.
“We will begin shipping millions of vaccine doses for kids to thousands of locations parents know and trust—including pediatricians’ offices, children’s hospitals, and pharmacies,” Biden said in a statement on Friday.
“As doses are delivered, parents will be able to start scheduling vaccinations for their youngest kids as early as next week, with appointments ramping up over the coming days and weeks.”
A panel of outside advisers began meeting on Friday to consider a recommendation to the CDC on the shots for those under 5 years old and will vote on Saturday, likely followed by the CDC itself greenlighting the recommendation.