COVID-19 vaccinations cleared for young kids: 4 health experts' reactions

Health experts largely welcomed the news that COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months old are now available, after sign-off from the FDA and CDC. 

The CDC on June 18 recommended children 6 months through 5 years get vaccinated. 

"Parents and caregivers can now get their children 6 months through 5 years of age vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines to better protect them from COVID-19," the agency said in a statement. "All children, including children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated." 

The FDA authorized Moderna's two-dose regimen for children up to 5 years old, and Pfizer's three-dose regimen for children up to 4. 

After news came of the authorizations, health experts publicly expressed support for the vaccines:

Jerome Adams, MD. Former U.S. Surgeon General: "Both the FDA and the CDC advisory committee votes were unanimous, which to my knowledge didn't happen for any other age group, including adults. Parents should talk to their doctors, but should be reassured that on a population level, the experts agree benefit [outweighs] risk!," he wrote in a June 18 tweet

Vivek Murthy, MD. U.S. Surgeon General: "Nothing feels better than knowing you're taking another step to keep your kids safe. Having the ability to vaccinate our children under 5 to help protect them from serious COVID-19 outcomes is a huge milestone," he said in a June 18 tweet

Jonathan Reiner, MD. Professor of Medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C.: "If my kids were of that age now, I'd have them at the pediatrician's office to get them protected. This vaccine is safe, and we know this virus can kill and hurt children: 2 million infections in kids under 5; 20,000 hospitalizations; 200 deaths," he told CNN in a June 18 interview. 

Overall, concerns regarding the vaccines have centered on the CDC's recommendation of two different vaccines for the same population: 

Katelyn Jetelina, PhD. Epidemiologist and Author of the "Your Local Epidemiologist" newsletter: "The implementation of these two rollouts is going to be incredibly challenging," Dr. Jetelina, whose newsletter has provided updates on COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, told The New York Times. "There's going to have to be a lot of proactive communication about the difference between the two and the implications of taking one over the other," she told the Times


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