White House COVID czar says vaccines for kids under 5 could be approved within weeks

The coronavirus pandemic has substantially receded in terms of severity and spread, yet President Joe Biden’s administration continues to strongly suggest that all Americans get fully vaccinated and boosted to protect against infection.

Part of that continued push includes an expansion to include young children under age five, and the White House announced Thursday that it expects full authorization of vaccines for children in that age group within a matter of weeks, The Hill reported.

That announcement came from White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha during the daily press briefing, who suggested that special doses for children younger than five could begin to be administered as soon as June 21.

WH expects approval soon for vaccines for young children

During Thursday’s briefing, Dr. Jha revealed that the Food and Drug Administration’s special independent advisory committee, known as VRBPAC, was scheduled to meet on June 14-15 to decide whether to grant authorization for Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines for children under five.

If and when that FDA committee granted approval, the same process would then play out with a similar advisory panel for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and then, presumably, the heads of both the FDA and CDC would grant final formal approval for vaccine doses to be given to young children.

He further revealed that the administration had already begun to stockpile the special doses designed for young children and would begin to ship those doses to various distribution centers nationwide upon FDA approval, though the actual administration of those doses would have to wait until CDC approval was granted.

Given all of that, Jha asserted, “So, we expect that vaccinations will begin in earnest as early as Tuesday, June 21st, and really roll on throughout that week.”

A moment later, he added, “And our expectation is that within weeks, every parent who wants their child to get vaccinated will be able to get an appointment.”

Parents must conduct risk/benefit analysis

To be sure, there is likely a substantial portion of American parents who are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to vaccinate their children against the COVID-19 virus, but there is also likely an even greater portion that has no intention of vaccinating their young kids, as evidenced by the reported vaccination rate for children aged 5-11, according to The Hill.

Citing figures from the CDC, the outlet noted that only around 30 percent of kids between 5-11 have been fully vaccinated.

One reason for that is because, as was known very early on in the pandemic and has since been proven and reinforced with multiple studies, children are at an “extremely low risk” of experiencing severe illness, hospitalization, or death from the virus, according to the BBC in July 2021.

Factored into the known low risk from the disease is the unknown risk of adverse side effects from the vaccine, and for many parents, the minimal benefits provided by the vaccine for low-risk kids are far outweighed by the potential risk of life-altering side effects for their beloved young children.

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