The US Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization for the use of Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines in the youngest children, the final age group awaiting immunization in most countries.
The agency authorized Moderna's two-dose vaccine for children aged six months to five years, and three doses of Pfizer's shots for those between six months and four years old. "Many parents, caregivers and clinicians have been waiting for a vaccine for younger children and this action will help protect those down to six months of age," Food and Drug Administration chief Robert Califf said in a statement. "We expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of Covid-19, such as hospitalization and death." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must now also recommend the vaccines before they are put into use - a final green light that will be given after a meeting of an advisory committee of experts that is expected to be held shortly.
But the US government has said that as soon as the FDA decision is made, 10 million doses could immediately be sent around the country, followed by millions more in subsequent weeks.