Allegheny Health Network (AHN) began administration of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines today to newly-eligible children following emergency use authorization by the FDA and subsequent recommendation by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Saturday for children 6 months through 5 years old.
Pfizer’s vaccine is administered in three doses for children 6 months to 4 years old. The shots are dosed at 3 micrograms, one-tenth the level of what adults receive. In clinical trials, three shots were about 75% effective at preventing mild illness from the omicron variant in 6-month- to 2-year-olds and 82% effective in 2- to 4-year-olds.
Moderna’s vaccine is administered in two doses for children 6 months to 5 years old. The shots are dosed at 25 micrograms, one-fourth the level that adults receive. Moderna’s vaccine was about 51% effective at preventing mild illness from omicron for kids 6 months to 2 years old, and about 37% effective for kids ages 2 to 5 years old in clinical trials. However, the company expects the vaccine to provide strong protection against severe illness because the kids had higher antibody levels than adults who received two doses.
Although COVID-19 is normally less severe in children than adults, the virus can be life threatening for some kids. COVID is the fifth leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4, according to CDC data. More than 200 children ages 6 months to 4 years old have died from COVID since January 2020. More than 2 million children in this age group have been infected during the pandemic, and more than 20,000 have been hospitalized.
“The availability of a vaccine for children 6 months and older is another important milestone in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. On behalf of Allegheny Health Network, we are strongly encouraging parents and guardians to get their younger children vaccinated and protected against serious illness from the disease,” said Joseph Aracri, DO, pediatrician and Chair of AHN Pediatric Institute.
AHN Pediatrics or AHN family medicine patients should call their respective office to schedule an appointment. For all others interested in scheduling with the Network, please call (412) DOCTORS.
For more information on AHN or to access COVID-19 FAQs, please visit ahn.org/coronavirus/vaccine.
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