COVID-19 vaccines now available for ages under five

NursevaccRAPID CITY, S.D. – The approval process of the under age five vaccine finished this weekend, allowing Rapid City and the rest of the country to get vaccines for the only age group that didn’t have one previously.

“One important point I want to make about the pediatric vaccination, especially in the age group, zero to four, that group during this Omicron wave – which started in January of this year – saw the largest increases than any other pediatric group in cases and also in deaths and hospitalizations,” Shankar Kurra, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monument Health, explained. “What that tells us is vaccines have prevented that kind of surge in the other age groups, from the five to 12 years and 12 to 18 because at least a portion of them are vaccinated.”

The Advisory Committee made a unanimous recommendation, 21-to-0, on Wednesday, June 15 for the zero to four age group vaccines – both Pfizer and Moderna.

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Dr. Shankar Kurra talks about COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5

The vaccine continued its approval process with the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommendation, Friday, June 17.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the final signoff, over the weekend, allowing the vaccinations for children under five to begin in some locations this week. For the youngest age group, it’s three shots for the Pfizer vaccine and two for Moderna.

“The vaccines are very safe, very effective. In anyone over the age of five, they have been effective in preventing death, preventing severe disease, which is why we’re not seeing hospitalizations with the current Omicron wave,” Kurra said. “The only age group in the United States that does not have a vaccine approved yet is the ages zero through four. We’re very close based on this advisory committee’s unanimous approval of getting vaccines as quickly as next week approved for that zero to four – babies, toddles, preschoolers – getting vaccines as well.”

Part of the reason for the unanimous recommendations toward this age groups vaccination is the safety profile.

PfizervaccineKurra said that the vaccines have been well proven in the trials, which shows that the safety profile and efficacy is good. Even though mild forms of infection can still occur, the trials are protecting well from severe disease which will cut down the number of hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths in the zero-to-four age group.

“So, this is a very important day that when we get this kind of unanimous approval by the advisory committee, the next steps will happen. And I can’t wait for this group also to be protected. This is a large group, and this is about, you know, the final group that needs vaccinations,” Kurra said.

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