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Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on June 18 backed COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months of age.
The advisers unanimously voted to advise the CDC to recommend all children, save for those who have contraindications to the vaccines, from 6 months through 5 years of age get the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, both of which are built on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will now decide whether or not to accept the advice.
The advisory panel’s vote is the third step of a four-step process. Previously, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended the FDA grant emergency authorization to the two vaccines for toddlers and babies, and the FDA followed the recommendation.
The government plans to start vaccinating young children on June 20.
Approximately 19.5 million children under 5 years old reside in the United States.
The age group was the only one unable to get COVID-19 vaccines.
CDC advisers said they view the vaccine as an essential way to protect against COVID-19, even though the shots are largely ineffective against infection by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.
“I feel comfortable in saying that vaccinating will be a benefit, a net benefit. We don’t know how much, but it will be a net benefit. so we are making a decision that will help children that we know now will get a certain level of efficacy,” Dr. Oliver Brooks, one of the members, said after the votes.
Members spent portions of their meeting discussing how to best convince parents to vaccinate their children. Surveys indicate that a majority of parents with children under 5 will wait until more information becomes available, will not vaccinate their children unless the vaccination becomes mandatory, or will never vaccinate their children.
The clinical trials that led to the current situation, funded by the companies themselves, were based on the controversial immunobridging technique, which involves a comparison of levels of antibodies between young children and a group of adults.
There were no clinical efficacy measurements in terms of protection against severe illness from either trial.
The CDC estimates it will take between 670 and 1,300 vaccinations to prevent a single case of COVID-19 and between 6,150 and 12,300 vaccinations to prevent a single hospitalization.
Bonnie Maldonado, chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Committee on Infectious Diseases, said the group supported making the vaccines available to all toddlers and babies in the United States older than 6 months of age.
“The AAP strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccines for all infants, children, and adolescents who do not have contraindications for using a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in their age. This includes primary series, additional doses, and/or booster doses as recommended by the CDC,” she said during the meeting.
Others, though, raised concerns about the vaccines’ safety and efficacy.
“This is the first vaccine to be distributed under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and the first vaccine using mRNA technology to be used in humans,” Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Center, told The Epoch Times in an email. “There were a limited number of infants and young children studied and there is no safety data on simultaneous administration of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines when given along with other vaccines. The knowledge base is limited and long term effects on immune function are not known.”
She urged parents who do get their children vaccinated to not assume symptoms like fever that appear following vaccination are unrelated to the vaccines, and to explore reporting symptoms to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.