The White House expects Covid vaccinations for children under age 5 to begin as early as June 21, a senior health official said on Thursday.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Covid response coordinator, said the Biden administration will initially make 10 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available to states, pharmacies and community health centers. States can begin placing orders on Friday, Jha said, but the vaccine doses will ship only after the Food and Drug Administration authorizes the shots.
The FDA is expected to make its decision on Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid shots for infants through preschoolers soon after the agency’s committee of independent experts reviews the data on June 15, Jha said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would then issue its recommendations quickly after the FDA decision, which would allow vaccinations to begin after the Juneteenth federal holiday, he said.
Jha said it will take some time for the vaccination program to ramp up but every parent should be able to get an appointment within weeks of the initial rollout.
“We’re going to ship doses out as fast as possible,” Jha told reporters during White House press briefing. “We’re going to make sure that supply is always meeting demand. And we’re going to do everything we can to make it easy for providers and parents alike to get their kids vaccinated.”
Children under age 5 are the only group left in the U.S. that is not eligible for Covid vaccination. Parents have been waiting months for the FDA to authorize the shots.
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