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White House officials said that millions of COVID vaccine doses have been ordered for small children in anticipation of federal authorization of the shots for kids under 5 next week.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will consider whether to authorize and recommend the first coronavirus vaccines for this age group.
The Biden administration said that the first vaccinations would start as early as the week of June 20th, with the program “ramping up” over time.
With 10 million doses available initially – and millions more in coming weeks – the administration said that doses would ship “immediately” upon authorization.
“To ensure that we are able to reach a broad range of pediatric providers – including those in smaller practices and in rural settings – vaccines will be available in package sizes of 100 doses and will come with all of the supplies that health care providers need to serve younger kids, including small needles,” it said.
The Associated Press, citing senior officials, reported that half of the first round of shots would be made by Pfizer and the others by Moderna.
Up to 20 million U.S. kids under 5 would become eligible for vaccination if one or both shots are approved.
Less than one-third of children ages 5 to 11 have gotten the two recommended vaccine doses, according to government figures.
Pfizer has requested that the FDA authorize three doses of its vaccine – with each dose a tenth of the amount for adults – for children ages 6 months to 4 years.
In addition, Moderna asked that the FDA approve two shots for kids ages 6 months to 5 years, with doses containing about a quarter of the dose for adults.
An FDA advisory committee is slated to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday to review the companies’ data.