MoH awaits FDA approval for under five vaccines

As per the international sources, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could authorize the COVID-19 vaccine for children under age 5 in June 2022. Also, Moderna is seeking US authorization for vaccines in children under six.

FDA will now review the company’s data and make a decision on whether the Moderna vaccine is safe and effective enough for the youngest children.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), COVID-19 can cause severe illness in children. Children with underlying medical conditions are at an increased risk for severe illness, although children without underlying medical conditions can also experience severe illness

Children under the age of five are the only unvaccinated group in Bhutan. Since these children are unvaccinated, the virus can continue to spread and then infect the older people who are at more risk. So vaccinating children under five is very important, says international experts.

So far 3,417 children under 5 have been infected with the COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and there has been one death of an infant (one month 22 days old) infected with COVID-19 who succumbed to cardiac complications in Phuentsholing hospital on 17 March 2022.

According to the international official data, children under five are at very low risk for severe disease, however, parents of young children worry about their unvaccinated children. A mother of two kids under five, Karma Choki, said when her entire family got infected, her four-year-old son got sick. She said he was complaining about body pain where he felt the most pain in his legs. She was very emotional to see her son not able to get  proper sleep due to the COVID-19 symptoms.

While there are parents who said they were infected including their kids under five but they experienced just normal flu-like symptoms.

However, a majority of parents with children under five said they would be more at ease if their children were vaccinated. 

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has already collected the data on the number of children under five who will be getting COVID-19 vaccine when authorized. MoH is looking forward to vaccinating under five children based on the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group recommendation following FDA approval.

Also, the health ministry will soon roll out the vaccines that get approved in a campaign mode, like it was done for adult, adolescent and children aged 5-11 years vaccination.

Meanwhile, the health ministry continues to provide the fourth dose of vaccine to all the eligible populations from the respective health centers. Those who have completed at least 3 months from the 3rd dose are eligible for the fourth dose.

As of 4 May 2022, 19.8 percent (145,831 people) of the overall population in the country have received the fourth dose.

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