FDA recommends COVID-19 vaccine for kids under five

USF professor echoes the decision of FDA.
Posted at 10:15 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 22:54:27-04

NATIONAL — On Wednesday afternoon, by unanimous decision an FDA panel voted to recommend both Moderna and Pfizers COVID-19 vaccine for children as young as 6 months old.

The youngest and only age group is not yet eligible for the vaccine.

The panel says the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risk, but it will be up to the CDC for the final approval before shots can be administered, which could come as early as this weekend.

"I think it’s something that’s really good that will help parents and their peace of mind," Thomas Unnasch, Distinguished University Professor from the University of South Florida, at the center for global health infectious disease research says that while we haven’t seen many kids get sick by COVID- 19, that the zero to five age range cohort has higher hospitalization and also death rate.

Unnasch says it’s a good thing this vaccine could soon be available to children under the age of five, answering questions and easing concerns for parents who might apprehensive.

"Protection may not be as great as you want it to be, but there have been no side effects mentioned at all or discovered at all in any of the studies," Unnasch said.

After a review of all the data and an hour-long panel discussion, the FDA recommended a two-dose series for the Moderna vaccine and a three-dose regimen for Pfizer. For children, the dose amounts would be significantly lower, but Unnasch echoes, that it's safe for kids.

While the Omicron outbreak earlier this year showed while the numbers were still relatively low it still saw a higher number of children getting sick and hospitalized during that wave, Unnasch understands parents' concerns, but agrees the benefits here outweigh those risks.

"So if we can prevent that with a shot that you know has absolutely no side effects whatsoever and is completely safe, and you know, why not take the chance?"