US health authorities approve COVID-19 vaccines for youngest kids
Published: Jun 19, 2022 07:16 PM
US health authorities on Saturday cleared the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 5 and younger, in a move President Joe Biden greeted as a "monumental step" in the fight against the virus.

The United States thus became the first country to approve use of the so-called mRNA vaccines for children as young as 6 months.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday authorized their emergency use for young children - who previously had to be at least 5 to receive the vaccine. But the vaccines required further clearance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the country's leading public health agency - and they received that on Saturday.

"We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today's decision, they can," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.

Once the green light was received from the FDA, the US government began distributing millions of doses of the vaccine across the country.

Biden promised that parents could begin scheduling appointments as early as next week to have their young children vaccinated at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and doctor's offices. 

The Moderna vaccine, administered in two doses a month apart, will be available to children aged 6 months to five years in reduced doses of 25 micrograms (half the amount given children aged 6 to 11, and a quarter the dose for those 12 and older).

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is now authorized for children aged 6 months to 4 years, and will be given in doses of three micrograms per injection - one-tenth the adult dosage.

The difference, however, is that children will receive three shots - the first two three weeks apart, followed by a third eight weeks later.