White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha on Monday heralded the recent authorization of COVID-19 vaccines for kids under the age of 5, saying it gives parents “two good choices.”
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Moderna’s and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines for children under age 5, the last group of people in the U.S. to be permitted to receive coronavirus immunizations.
On Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommended that COVID-19 vaccines be permitted for children who are between six months old and five years old.
The shots are administered in lower doses than those that are given to adults or children over 5.
Appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday, Jha told host George Stephanopoulos that both vaccines were “exceedingly safe” and effective.
Noting that there were “nuanced, subtle differences” between the two mRNA shots, Jha said both shots were ultimately good options for parents seeking immunizations for their children.
Pfizer’s vaccine is administered in three doses while Moderna’s is administered with two doses.
Stephanopoulos asked Jha if parents of children close to turning 5 should wait until they’re older so that they can receive the stronger dose.
“What I personally think — you should go ahead and get your child vaccinated if they’re right on that cusp. You maybe want to talk to your pediatrician or family physician, but really the bottom line is we’ve got [a] safe, effective vaccine for 4- and 5-year-olds, so it probably doesn’t matter hugely,” said Jha.
The White House adviser also spoke on “CBS Mornings,” where he further encouraged hesitant parents to get their children vaccinated, noting that millions of children over the age of 5 have already been immunized. He also noted the high rate at which children have been infected with the virus already.
“We think maybe almost 70 percent of kids have ended up getting infected with COVID,” said Jha.
Despite the estimate of children who have already had COVID-19, Jha said it was “still worth getting the vaccine.”
“It really offers an extra level of protection, an extra layer of protection,” he said.
According to CDC data, about 29 percent of children between 5 and 11 are fully vaccinated and nearly 60 percent of kids between 12 and 17 are as well.