In an open letter, around 250 doctors are begging the FDA to remove the “red tape” and approve a COVID vaccine for kids under 5
COVID vaccines are safe, effective, and widely available for all Americans ages 5 and up. Even as the omicron variant has surged across the country, the vaccinated face a remarkably low risk of severe illness or death. But for families with kids under 5 who still aren’t eligible to be vaccinated, this is still an excruciating time, filled with the kinds of constant risk calculations no parent should have to do, let alone on a daily basis.
Now, doctors are banding together to find a way to keep younger children safe from COVID. Around 250 physicians from all over the country signed an open letter, posted this week, asking that the FDA cut through its “red tape” and authorize a vaccine for kids under 5.
“We are concerned physicians requesting your urgent attention in regards to protecting our youngest patients and children through access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines,” the letter reads. “As the Omicron variant surges throughout the United States, parents and physicians continue to have no options for protecting our children under five years of age against COVID-19. With over 1,000 children under age 18 in the US dead from COVID-19 and thousands suffering from serious complications such as MIS-C, the situation could not be more dire. Moreover, we are now learning that Omicron hits babies and young children harder in their upper respiratory tract than previous variants, causing croup and bronchiolitis. This is of particular concern for the very age group that either cannot wear masks or has the most challenge wearing masks. We cannot let an entire generation of children suffer when we have a safe and effective method of protection.”
Dr. Rebekah Diamond, one of the letter signers, said the problem is that pediatric trials weren’t prioritized the same as trials for adults and older kids.
“This is a Band-Aid solution … the best solution long-term would be preventing even getting to this situation,” she said.
The FDA has tested a low dose of the vaccine in children under 5. In a recently published study, they found that kids ages 6 months to two years responded to the lower dose, while kids ages 2-5 did not. Trials are now testing higher amounts of vaccine and additional doses in that age group.