The FDA authorizes Covid-19 vaccines for kids under five

More than 440 children 4 years old and younger have died from Covid-19.

The FDA authorized two Covid-19 vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, for kids under five yesterday—a year and a half after vaccines were approved for adults 16+.

Big picture: Although kids are less likely to have a severe case of Covid-19 than adults, it’s still “a top killer of children right now,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. The agency also found that…

  • More than 440 children four and younger have died from Covid-19, and the highest fatality rate is found among infants under one.
  • More children have died from Covid-19 than did from hepatitis A, chickenpox, and rotavirus before their respective vaccines were rolled out.

But vaccine hesitancy could keep parents from rushing to jab their kids: Less than 40% of 5–11-year-olds have received one or more doses, nearly eight months after a vaccine was authorized for their age group.

And stoking parents’ concerns this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said “we are affirmatively against the Covid vaccine for young kids,” arguing that they need more testing and trials. The state became the only one to not order any vaccines for kids five and younger, though they’ll still be available through non-state-run programs.

Looking ahead…the Biden administration started shipping tot shots yesterday, so they could be available as early as next week.