On June 17th, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccinations for children under the age of 5.
So far, the FDA has amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) to include individuals between the ages of 6 months and 17 years for the Moderna vaccine and individuals between the ages of 6 months and 4 years for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The EUA for the Pfizer-BioNTech version had already included children over the age of 5.
Currently, Nevada is enduring another wave of COVID-19 cases. Federal health experts say that Nevada’s true case count on any given day this month is likely six to eight times higher than publicly reported numbers, ranging between 8,190 and 10,920 cases. In comparison, this rise may be greater than the latest Omicron surge, which saw 6,410 publicly reported cases on a single peak day in January 2022.
The recent FDA announcement has given many Nevadan families a sense of much needed relief. “I think it’s awesome that they have the vaccination now for really young children,” said Chelsea Santamaria.
Santamaria works as a massage therapist and has two young children, ages 5 and 2, with another due soon. Her baby daughter was born in January 2020 before COVID-related shutdowns, and during the pandemic, Santamaria described being scared of taking her daughter anywhere and around anyone so she decided to vaccinate them.
The Jones’s of North Nevada had their child around the time the United States had its first case of COVID-19, and as they braved the pandemic with their now 2-year old son, Mike Jones found himself wishing that his son could do “normal kid stuff.” Jones has also voiced his frustration at those who are pretending the pandemic is over and not considering vaccination.
“I don’t understand why people with kids our [kid’s] age wouldn’t want to be able to have that protection,” Jones said. “I mean, there’s plenty of other vaccinations you get. This is just another one for a disease that is actually an active threat right now.”
Jones has based his decision to vaccinate his son on the approval and research from the FDA and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “I don’t see why people are viewing this so different than any other vaccine,” Jones said. “When polio was out, they came out with the polio vaccine. People took it. Now we don’t have polio.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC approves immunizing children between 6 months and 5 years of age with either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “supports this recommendation and encourages pediatricians to promote vaccination and give COVID-19 vaccines,” according to the organization’s website.
Dr. Yvonne “Bonnie” Maldonado, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, spoke at an ACIP meeting and, according to the AAP, “stressed the importance of these vaccines for the youngest members of our community, who have waited the longest for this protection.”
“Pediatricians know the power of vaccines to protect infants, children, adolescents and entire communities against deadly and debilitating infectious diseases,” said Dr. Maldonado. “We’ve successfully immunized millions of children and adolescents to protect them from COVID-19. Families with infants and toddlers need and deserve the same chance to protect their children against this virus.”
The AAP urges families to check with their pediatrician and community health care providers about how to get their children vaccinated.