EXPLAINER: COVID vaccines for kids under 5: What’s next?

Feb 1, 2022, 7:01 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2022, 10:19 am
FILE - Syringes and colorful bandages are prepared as children from local schools prepare to get CO...

FILE - Syringes and colorful bandages are prepared as children from local schools prepare to get COVID-19 vaccines in Pittsfield, Mass., on Monday Dec. 13, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5 may be available in the U.S. as early as March 2022, but there are several hurdles still to clear. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP, File)

(Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP, File)

Parents who thought their children under 5 would have to wait several more months for COVID-19 vaccinations instead just might get them as early as March. Here’s what needs to happen first, and some things to expect if they do become available in the U.S.

GOVERNMENT REVIEW

Pfizer has asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize extra-low doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years. The FDA will review the application and convene a panel of outside advisers in mid-February to debate the data. The FDA will use that advice in deciding whether the new doses are safe and effective enough for the youngest children.

But that’s not the last step. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will gather its own expert panel to help decide if the shots should be recommended for this age group — and if so, for all of them or only those at higher risk from COVID-19.

SPECIAL SHOTS

Shots for children in this age group are one-tenth the size of the adult doses. That’s even smaller than the doses given for 5- to 11-year-olds, which are one-third the dose. Pfizer will have to specially bottle the extra-low doses so vaccine providers don’t mix them up with the two other dosages already being used.

TWO DOSES OR THREE?

Here’s where this gets complicated. In December, Pfizer announced a setback: Preliminary study results showed two of the extra-low doses appeared strong enough to protect babies but weren’t strong enough for 2- to 4-year-olds. The company added a third shot to the study, but results are not expected until late March.

Still, the FDA took the highly unusual step of urging Pfizer to apply now for a two-dose series with potentially a third shot added later. During the FDA advisory committee meeting, the public will get its first look at any new evidence of whether two extra-low doses are working better than initially expected among the preschoolers.

IF CLEARED, WHERE WOULD SHOTS BE GIVEN?

While the government expanded pharmacists’ ability to vaccinate children during the pandemic, shots for the youngest children primarily are given in pediatricians’ offices.

WHAT ABOUT KIDS YOUNGER THAN 6 MONTHS?

There are no plans to test shots in newborns.

WILL THE SHOTS BE IN HIGH DEMAND?

Vaccinations have been lower among children than in other age groups, a pattern likely to continue with kids under 5. As of last week, just 20% of kids ages 5 to 11 and just over half of 12- to 17-year-olds were fully vaccinated, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Nearly three-quarters of adults are fully vaccinated. While COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, the omicron wave has caused record numbers of child hospitalizations.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announces a new federal office of envir...
Associated Press

Biden administration launches environmental justice office

WARRENTON, N.C. (AP) — Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied against hosting a hazardous waste landfill, President Biden’s top environment official visited what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement Saturday to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, speaks with Serbia's President Aleksandar Vuci...
Associated Press

EU candidate Serbia and Russia sign foreign policy agreement

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbia has signed an agreement with Russia for mutual “consultations” on foreign policy matters, the Balkan country’s media reported Saturday. Serbian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Selakovic signed the agreement Friday along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, where most […]
2 days ago
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General A...
Associated Press

On Ukraine, Russia repeats insistence that it had no choice

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia made its case to the world Saturday for its war in Ukraine, repeating a series of grievances about its neighbor and the West to tell the U.N. General Assembly meeting of world leaders that Moscow had “no choice” but to take military action. At the heart of Foreign Minister Sergey […]
2 days ago
This undated photo provided by the U.S. Defense Department shows Cpl. Joseph J. Puopolo. The solide...
Associated Press

Soldier who went missing during Korean War accounted for

BOSTON (AP) — A soldier from Massachusetts who went missing during the Korean War and was later reported to have died in a prisoner of war camp has been accounted for using modern scientific techniques, military officials said. Army Cpl. Joseph J. Puopolo, 19, of East Boston, was accounted for in August, according to a […]
2 days ago
FILE - Roger Waters performs at the United Center on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in Chicago. Polish med...
Associated Press

Pink Floyd founder cancels Poland concerts after war remarks

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has canceled concerts planned in Poland amid outrage over his stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine, Polish media reported Saturday. An official with the Tauron Arena in Krakow, where Waters was scheduled to perform two concerts in April, said they would no longer take place. “Roger […]
2 days ago
A model wears a creation as part of the Dolce & Gabbana women's Spring Summer 2023 collection prese...
Associated Press

Kim Kardashian culls Dolce & Gabbana archives for Milan show

MILAN (AP) — Kim Kardashian took Milan by storm on Saturday, curating a new collection for Dolce & Gabbana that took inspiration from 20 years of archival looks. It was a day of debuts in Milan, including Maximilian Davis, a 27-yeaer-old British designer with Afro-Caribbean roots, at the creative helm of Salvatore Ferragamo and Filipino […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
EXPLAINER: COVID vaccines for kids under 5: What’s next?