COVID-19 Update for Virginia
June 24, 2022
Thank you for your continued partnership in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Options are now available for parents who choose to vaccinate their younger children.
CDC Recommends COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Aged 6 Months to 5 Years
- On June 17, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to be used for prevention against SARS-CoV-2 infection in young children.
- After a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to discuss the vaccines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on June 18, 2022 that both vaccines be placed into use.
- Immunization of young children with either the primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine produced an antibody response equivalent to that seen in young adults who received the respective manufacturer’s 2 dose primary series.
- These antibody levels in young adults were found to confer higher levels of protection against severe COVID-19 illness and the same is expected for young children.
- Due to differences in Pfizer’s and Moderna’s clinical vaccine trials, the vaccine effectiveness (VE) of one product cannot be compared to the other.
Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) COVID-19 Vaccine
- This vaccine is recommended for use in children aged 6 months through 4 years. For immunocompetent children, the primary series is 3 doses with a recommended interval of 3-8 weeks between the first and second doses and at least 8 weeks between doses 2 and 3. In immunocompromised children, the primary series is also 3 doses. The recommended interval is 3 weeks between doses 1 and 2, and 8 weeks between doses 2 and 3.
- Clinical trials showed that the vaccine met immunogenicity criteria and had an estimated VE of 80.3% after receipt of the primary series.
- The vaccine series was evaluated as having benefits outweighing potential risks. No cases of myocarditis, pericarditis, or anaphylaxis were reported from clinical trials.
- Reported side effects included mild pain and redness at the injection site. Fever was reported in about 5% of vaccine recipients and fatigue reported in about 25% – mostly reported as mild to moderate with frequencies similar to children who received a placebo (saline) injection.
Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
- This vaccine is recommended for use in children aged 6 months through 5 years. In immunocompetent children, the primary series is 2 doses with a 4-8 week interval between doses 1 and 2. In immunocompromised children, the primary series is 3 doses, with a recommended interval of 4 weeks between doses 1 and 2, and 4 weeks between doses 2 and 3.
- In clinical trials, the vaccine met immunogenicity benchmarks and had an estimated VE of 41.5% after receipt of the primary series.
- The vaccine was evaluated as having benefits outweighing potential risks. In clinical trials, no cases of myocarditis, pericarditis, or anaphylaxis were reported.
- The most common reported local side effect was mild pain at the injection site. The most common reported systemic adverse events were mild headache and fatigue. Low grade fever was reported in about 16% of vaccine recipients.
Additional information about the use of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in young children
- Detailed product information (e.g., storage, handling) is available on both vaccines. Fact Sheets for Healthcare Providers and Recipients/Caregivers for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are on FDA’s website.
- CDC’s Interim Clinical Considerations provides information about product usage and Table 1 shows available formulations of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
- Other than in exceptional circumstances, for young children, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not interchangeable. CDC and FDA express no preference for one product over another.
- COVID-19 vaccines may be coadministered with other vaccines on the same day.
- Children should receive the recommended age-appropriate vaccine based on their age on the day of vaccination.
CDC Recommends Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Aged 6 Through 17 Years
- On June 17, 2022, FDA amended the EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to include children, adolescents, and teenagers aged 6 through 17 years.
- On June 24, 2022, after an ACIP meeting yesterday, CDC recommended nationwide vaccine use.
- The Moderna vaccines come as two separate products–one for children aged 6 through 11 years (50 micrograms of antigen per dose) and another for children aged 12 through 17 years (100 micrograms of antigen per dose).
- In children aged 6 through 11 years, the primary series is 2 doses with a one month interval between doses. Similarly, in children aged 12 through 17 years, the primary series is 2 doses with a one month interval between doses.
- At this time, CDC has not updated its Interim Clinical Considerations document; this is anticipated to be published online shortly.
Monkeypox Outbreak Update
- The monkeypox outbreak in the United States and other countries continues to expand.
- As a reminder, clinical recognition and reporting of suspected cases is critical. VDH maintains websites for healthcare providers and the public, and provided additional details in a June 14 Clinician Letter.
Thank you again for your continued partnership. Please visit the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) website for current clinical and public health guidance, epidemiologic data, and other information.
Colin M. Greene, MD, MPH
State Health Commissioner