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Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave emergency authorization to both Pfizer and Moderna for their vaccines for children under the age of five. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is expected to give emergency approval today. The first vaccines are expected to begin to flow to pediatricians and clinics by next Tuesday, June 21.

Pfizer is a three-dose vaccine for kids ages four down to six months, while Moderna’s dose for children five and under is a two-dose vaccine. Neither offer as high a protection against the current COVID-19 variants floating about as the adult vaccines did for the original strains of COVID-19, but the experts are reminding parents that “something is better than nothing.”

Young children under age five have had to wait the longest for a safe COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA approval on Wednesday means that shots can go into little arms beginning Tuesday, June 21. Image courtesy of NBC News.

For the parents of children under the age of five, this has been an excruciating few years of waiting and hoping and praying that their children don’t get COVID. While the rest of the population got vaccines, and got vaccinated and got vaccinated, and got vaccinated….  those little ones who are usually the lives we protect first, have had to wait.

It has meant a degree of isolation that others with older children or none at all have largely ignored. While this spring the rest of the population hit the patience wall and has begun to move on to “life as normal’ these young families have languished, keeping their children in small groups of known contacts, only taking them to outside play areas, avoiding restaurants, theaters, malls and concert areas. For some young children, it means they have never sat inside at a restaurant, or gone with a parent to shop in a grocery store. They have never attended a concert, or shopped in a mall.

“We appreciate this overdue and much-needed action that gives parents a highly effective new tool to protect their young children,” said Governor Jared Polis.” It’s unfortunate that it took months for the FDA to act and our administration has repeatedly urged the federal government to approve the safe and effective vaccine for children under age 5. That said, we are glad to see this important step finally taken so that Colorado families will be able to safely visit with their relatives and enjoy summer activities, and we urge the CDC to quickly follow suit.”

Parents of little children have continued to worry and the entire family’s ability to travel, attend events, or vacation, have been waiting for this moment. That they have had reason to worry is a fact. According to the CDC, the data shows that this spring, kids are ending up in the hospital from COVID-19 at six times the rate they do for the flu.

Colorado is home to a quarter-million children under the age of five. In recent months, Governor Polis repeatedly called on the FDA to act with urgency to approve the lifesaving vaccine for children under five years of age.

The FDA says that the version of the vaccine for kids as young as six months is extremely effective in keeping kids out of the hospital. For kiddos age two and younger, the Moderna vaccine outperforms the Pfizer.  The Pfizer is 1/10th the adult dosage, while the Moderna vaccine is 1/4 of the adult dose. The FDA comments that for kids age two and under, the Moderna might work better.

The federal government set a deadline of Tuesday, June 14 this week, to pre-order the vaccines for their state deliveries. Every single state in the union — except one — has pre-ordered vaccines to protect their state’s young children. The holdout: Florida, which appears to be presenting itself as an anti-vaccine state: https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/2022/06/15/florida-only-state-not-to-preorder-covid-vaccine-for-young-kids-report-says/