The wait is finally over! Covid-19 vaccines were approved by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday and are now recommended for use in children younger than 5 years old. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports this recommendation and encourages pediatricians to promote vaccination.
Two vaccines, one by Moderna and the other by Pfizer-BioNTech, are now available for use in pediatric patients as young as 6 months old. The Moderna vaccine is given in 2 doses, 4 weeks apart. The Pfizer vaccine is given in 3 doses over 11 weeks, with 3 weeks between the first and second doses, and 8 weeks between the second and third doses.
We were given the opportunity to preorder vaccine from the state several weeks ago, and based on information available at that time, our office opted to preorder 1000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine only. Our shipment is anticipated to be received on or around Thursday, June 23.
Although it takes longer to complete the Pfizer vaccine series, preliminary information seems to indicate greater effectiveness as well as tolerability compared to Moderna. Less side effects, including fever, irritability and fatigue were reported with the lower dose Pfizer vaccine. Moderna's vaccine was estimated to be about 40-50% effective at preventing symptomatic infections among children 6 months to 6 years. Early data from the Pfizer vaccine suggested a vaccine efficacy of 80% in this group. Moderna is currently testing a third dose or booster shot for this age. We will continue to monitor as new information becomes available and may expand Covid vaccine options in the future.
Our office will be working aggressively this week to set up vaccine clinics and began scheduling appointments for vaccine administration as soon as possible, hopefully toward the end of this week or early next week. Please check in with your primary doctor at Bethesda Pediatrics if you have any questions about Covid-19 vaccines for your children.