The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended two COVID-19 vaccines: one for children ages 6 months to 4 years and one for ages 6 months to 5 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports this recommendation and encourages pediatricians to promote vaccination and give COVID-19 vaccines.
The AAP urges families to check with their pediatrician and community health care providers about how to get their children vaccinated.
Pediatricians applaud the authorization
Speaking at the ACIP meeting, pediatrician Yvonne "Bonnie" Maldonado, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, emphasized the importance of these vaccines for the youngest members of our community, who have waited the longest for this protection.
"Pediatricians know the power of vaccines to protect infants, children, adolescents and entire communities against deadly and debilitating infectious diseases," Dr. Maldonado said. "We've successfully immunized millions of children and adolescents to protect them from COVID-19. Families with infants and toddlers need and deserve the same chance to protect their children against this virus."
Kids under 5 can now be protected, too
Authorization of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children ages 6 months and older will extend the protection of immunization to the last segment of our population awaiting protection. More work remains to vaccinate older children and adolescents, as well. As of June 8, more than 23 million children ages 5 to 17 have received two doses of COVID vaccine. Another 26 million in this age group have yet to receive any doses.
"We must not let up in our efforts to make sure all families can benefit from the protection of these vaccines," said AAP President Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP. "Pediatricians are ready to have these conversations, and parents and caregivers should feel comfortable bringing their questions to their trusted pediatrician to have their questions addressed."
AAP updates COVID vaccine recommendations
Immediately after the ACIP vote to recommend the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months and older, the AAP published its updated recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine, including a strong recommendation for children in this age group to receive the vaccine after pending the final decision by the CDC. The CDC has now endorsed the ACIP recommendation.
The AAP recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all children and adolescents 6 months of age and older who do not have contraindications using a vaccine authorized for use for their age. The AAP encourages all states to work with pediatrician practices to make accessing COVID vaccine as simple as possible.