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Jha says FDA will decide on vaccines for children under 5 ‘in the next few weeks’

FILE – White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, April 26, 2022. The White House is planning for “dire” contingencies that could include rationing supplies of vaccines and treatments this fall if Congress doesn’t approve more money for fighting COVID-19. In public comments and private meetings on Capitol Hill, Jha has painted a dark picture in which the U.S. could be forced to cede many of the advances made against the coronavirus over the last two years and even the most vulnerable could face supply shortages. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said on Sunday that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to make a decision on whether children under the age of 5 should receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot, noting that the decision could come “in the next few weeks”. 

During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” moderator Martha Raddatz asked Jha if children under 5 years of age will receive vaccine shots, mentioning the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend boosters shots for children aged 5 to 11. 

“And CDC advisors recommended boosters for kids aged 5 to 11 this week, but what about 5 and under, how soon might we see that?” Raddatz asked Jha. 

“What I know is that Moderna has completed its application, those data are being looked at very closely right now by FDA experts. And my expectation is that as soon as that analysis is done, probably within the next few weeks, we’re going to get that expert outside committee, the VRBPAC, and then after that, FDA’s going to make a decision,” Jha replied. “So my hope is that it’s going to be kind of coming in the next few weeks.”

The CDC’s vaccine advisory board on Thursday voted to approve the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11. 

The vote, where 11 of the 15 advisory board members voted in favor, came two days after the FDA expanded the authorization of the Pfizer vaccine’s COVID-19 shot for children in that age group. 

Jha also urged lawmakers to establish funding for COVID-19 vaccine production to combat a potential new wave of the virus which is expected to hit during the fall and winter. 

“By the way, one of the reasons I’ve been talking a lot about the need for Congress to step up and fund this effort, is if they don’t, Martha, we will go into the fall and winter without that next generation of vaccines, without treatments and diagnostics,” Jha told Raddatz. “That’s going to make it much, much harder for us to take care of and protect Americans.”

Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the FDA is expected to announce a decision on COVID vaccines for children under 5 years old.

Tags ABC News Ashish Jha Ashish Jha Ashish Jha Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CDC Children vaccines children vaccines COVID-19 pandemic COVID-19 pandemic in the United States Food and Drug Administration Martha Raddatz Martha Raddatz vaccine boosters
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