HealthDay News — Pharmacies and states have ordered millions of doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children younger than 5 in advance of possible US authorization of the shots next week, the Biden administration said Thursday.

Senior officials said that 5 million doses, half from Pfizer and half from Moderna, are initially available, and states and pharmacies were given the green light last week to start placing orders, the Associated Press reported. As of this week, about 1.45 million Pfizer doses and 850,000 Moderna doses had been ordered, and orders are expected to continue in the coming days.

Children under 5 are the only age group in the US not yet eligible for COVID-19 shots, but as many as 20 million would be able to get them if government agencies give their approval, the AP reported. More than 30,000 US children under the age of 5 have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and nearly 500 coronavirus deaths have been reported in that age group, according to US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD

A US Food and Drug Administration advisory committee is set to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday to review Pfizer and Moderna data on their shots for young children, and an FDA decision is expected shortly after that meeting concludes, White House officials said. A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee is scheduled to meet next Friday and Saturday, with a CDC decision expected soon after, the AP reported.

If those agencies give their approval, vaccinations for young children should begin in earnest as early as June 21, according to White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha, MD

Pfizer is seeking authorization of three doses for children ages 6 months to 4 years; each dose is one-tenth the adult amount. In its authorization request, Moderna said its vaccine would be given in two shots to children ages 6 months to 5 years, with each dose a quarter of the adult amount.

Associated Press Article