Updated Jun 9, 2022 - Health

Biden administration outlines plan for vaccinating children under 5

A nurse administers a pediatric dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to a girl at a L.A. Care Health Plan vaccination clinic
A nurse administers a Covid-19 vaccine to a girl at a clinic in Los Angeles early this year. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Thursday outlined its strategy for making COVID-19 vaccines available to children under the age of 5.

Driving the news: Pending approval by the FDA and CDC, the White House said last week it hopes COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest children could be available starting June 21.

  • The FDA's outside panel of advisers plans to meet on June 14 and 15 to review the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
  • The CDC's advisory committee will then meet on June 17 and 18.

The big picture: The Biden administration said it has made 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses available for providers to preorder and will begin shipping them across the country once the FDA authorizes the shot, according to a White House fact sheet.

  • To suit the needs of smaller practices and rural communities, the doses will be shipped in packages of 100 doses and with "all of the supplies that health care providers need to serve younger kids, including small needles," per the fact sheet.
  • The vaccines will be available at a range of places, such as pediatricians' offices, community health centers and local pharmacies. The White House said 85% of children under 5 live within five miles of a potential vaccination site.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services will work with national organizations across the country to launch a national public education campaign.

What they're saying: "If the FDA and CDC recommend these vaccines, this would mark an important moment in the pandemic. It would mean that for the first time, essentially every American, from our oldest to our youngest, will be eligible for the protection that vaccines provide," Ashish Jha, the White House's COVID-19 response coordinator, said at a press briefing Thursday.

  • "We know that for kids over five, vaccines have made a tremendous difference. Kids who are vaccinated are far less likely to get seriously ill from COVID. They're far less likely to end up in the hospital or in the ICU. And they're far less likely to get complications of COVID," he added.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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