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“As the (US Food and Drug Administration) and (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) conduct their independent review processes, the Biden Administration is planning for all scenarios, including for the first vaccinations to start as early as the week of June 20th —with the program ramping up over time as more doses are delivered and more appointments become available,” the White House wrote in a fact sheet shared with CNN on Wednesday.
The administration, it said, “has made 10 million vaccine doses available for states, Tribes, territories, community health centers, federal pharmacy partners, and others to pre-order. If the FDA authorizes a vaccine, the Administration will immediately begin shipping doses across the country — and will launch an effort to ensure that parents can get their youngest children vaccinated easily.”
FDA vaccine advisers are scheduled to meet next week to discuss authorizing emergency use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 5 years of age and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for children 6 months through 4 years of age, and pending those decisions, the CDC will make final recommendations about the vaccines.
The administration estimates that 85% of children under the age of 5 live within five miles of a potential vaccination site at this time, though they’re anticipating most parents seeking a vaccination for young children will do so at their pediatrician’s or primary care provider’s office.
Per a senior administration official, however, additional vaccine clinics and sites will be set up at easy-to-access locations for parents, including pharmacies, schools, children’s hospitals, diaper banks, community health centers, clinics, museums, libraries and organizations serving minority communities across the country.
Jurisdictions across the country have been able to pre-order Covid-19 vaccine doses for children under 5 since last week — in that time, of the initial 5 million doses available for pre-order pending FDA authorization, the administration has received requests for 2.3 million vaccine doses, including 1.45 million doses of Pfizer and 850,000 doses of Moderna.
Still, the official suggested they anticipate an uptick in orders from jurisdictions over time.
“Our experience has been that people are slow to order, and this has been true across each of the times we’ve opened up ordering, so I wouldn’t focus on those early numbers,” the official told reporters on a call Wednesday. “Our experience is that the longer the ordering stays open, the more likely the states come forward, so some of this is a matter of letting them know the ordering is available, and that they can begin that process.”
To spread awareness, the administration will partner with the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which it estimates serves over 6 million people in the US, including almost half of all infants; with Head Start Programs through the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services, which it estimates services approximately 1 million families; with Department of Housing and Urban Development programs, which it estimates serves more than 800,000 children under 5; and with Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which serves millions of children under 5, among others.
They’ll also partner with community organizations, including “What to Expect,” a platform serving mothers and expectant mothers, to author a series of blog posts to dispel vaccine misinformation.