WASHINGTON - The Biden administration said Thursday that children under 5 may be able to get their first COVID-19 vaccination doses as soon as June 21, if federal regulators authorize shots for the age group, as expected.
White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha outlined the administration's planning for the last remaining ineligible age group to get shots. He said the Food and Drug Administration's outside panel of advisers will meet on June 14-15 to evaluate the Pfizer and Moderna shots for younger kids. Shipments to doctors' offices and pediatric care facilities would begin soon after FDA authorization, with the first shots possible the following week.
Jha said states can begin placing orders for pediatric vaccines on Friday, and said the administration has an initial supply of 10 million doses available. He said it may take a few days for the vaccines to arrive across the country and vaccine appointments to be widespread.
FILE - A nurse administers a pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to a girl at a L.A. Care Health Plan vaccination clinic at Los Angeles Mission College in the Sylmar neighborhood in Los Angeles, Calif. Jan. 19, 2022.
"Our expectation is that within weeks every parent who wants their child to get vaccinated will be able to get an appointment," Jha said.
The Biden administration is pressing states to prioritize large-volume sites like children's hospitals, and to make appointments available outside regular work hours to make it easier for parents to get their kids vaccinated.
Jha acknowledged the "frustration" of parents of young children who have been waiting more than a year for shots for their kids.
"At the end of the day we all want to move fast, but we’ve got to get it right," he said.