US COVID-19 vaccine starts rollout for young children

It is unclear how many parents will vaccinate their children under the age of two.

According to White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, the United States has begun delivering COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as six months across the country, and availability of the doses will improve in the following days. Late last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Moderna Inc's two-dose vaccine for children aged six months to five years, as well as Pfizer-three-shot BioNTech's regimen for children aged six months to four years. It is unclear how many parents will vaccinate their youngest children. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released in May, only one-in-five parents with children under the age of five indicated they planned to vaccinate their children "right away" whenever they became eligible.

According to US data, only about 29% of children aged 5 to 11 have been properly vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine since it was approved in October. Children who start their vaccinations with the Pfizer shot this week may have their third dose the week of September 12 or later. Those who get their first Moderna shot this week may be able to finish their vaccination by July 19. Moderna's vaccine contains a higher dose and is more likely to cause fever than Pfizer's. "These are not dangerous side effects, and they are manageable with medications like acetaminophen," said Gounder, a former member of President Joe Biden's COVID transition team.