Today, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, and Director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and State Public Health Officer, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, issued a joint statement supporting the recommendation by the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant emergency use authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6 months.
“Vaccination for children aged 6 months and older is an important tool to protect against COVID-19 and ensures our communities can now have whole family protection against this deadly virus,” says a news release by the California Department of Public Health.
Along with other routine children’s vaccinations, the organizations recommend infants and children 6 months and older complete their primary COVID-19 vaccination series and stay up to date on all recommended childhood vaccines, including COVID-19.
According to a news release, COVID-19 hospitalizations for children under 4 years old were five times higher during the Omicron surge than during Delta, and one in five children hospitalized with COVID-19 were also admitted to the ICU.
“COVID-19 has become one of the top five leading causes of death in children and vaccines make these deaths preventable,” said the news release.
Studies have shown that getting children vaccinated is the safest way to protect them from the worst outcomes of COVID-19, including hospitalization, long COVID, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), and death.
Clinical trials involving thousands of infants and toddlers 6 months and older firmly show that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in this population, according to CDPH.
The authorization will add young children aged 6 months through 4 years old to those eligible to get a Pfizer vaccine (ages 5-17 are already eligible), and children and adolescents aged 6 months through 17 years old to get a Moderna vaccine.
In alignment with California’s SMARTER Plan, the state is operationally ready to immediately begin administering vaccines for infants and toddlers aged 6 months and older this week. To find a vaccine, visit myturn.ca.gov or call 1-833-422-4255. Parents can also talk to their child’s health care provider, or visit Vaccinate All 58 to learn more about the safe and effective vaccines available for all Californians aged 6 months and older.