NC DHHS prepares for "rollout" of COVID vaccines for kids under 5
FDA committee unanimously approved shots for kids six and under last week
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) issued a statement this past week announcing the agency is preparing for the rollout of COVID vaccines for kids ages five and under.
“Children are vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus just like everyone else. A vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years could be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as soon as this weekend, and vaccinations in North Carolina could begin June 20,” the NCDHHS statement reads.
“NCDHHS’ strategy for equitable vaccine distribution ensures vaccines will be available in all 100 North Carolina counties when the vaccine is authorized and recommended,” according to the statement.
NCDHHS also said that COVID vaccines will be “available at all local health departments, more than 300 pediatric offices over the next two weeks, and in family medicine offices.” Vaccines for kids ages three and up will also be available in pharmacies.
In North Carolina, there have been 2,823,979 cases of COVID-19 recorded between Mar. 14, 2020, and June 14, 2022. According to NCDHHS, a case is defined as testing positive for COVID.
Of the over 2.8 million cases, NCDHHS reports 98,157, only 3 percent, were in children under the age of five. NCDHHS’ own data also shows that the same age range accounts for zero percent of the deaths from COVID in North Carolina.
NCDHHS’ dashboard does not offer comprehensive hospitalization demographics as it does for cases and deaths. It also lumps all kids into one category of 17 and under.
It is worth noting that the total hospitalization percentage for all children ages 17 and under has never risen above 4 percent of the total number of those hospitalized during any given week since the start of the pandemic.
During the highest two-week spike in hospitalizations in January of this year, hospitalizations stood at three and four percent for kids 17 and under. To expand on that, for example, there were 4,295 people hospitalized statewide during the week ending Jan. 29, 2022. NCDHHS reported that three percent of those hospitalizations were for kids 17 and under, however, three percent of 4,295 is actually just .07 percent or roughly 128 individuals.
On the national front, President Biden tweeted that the shots for very young children may come as early as this coming week:
For kids 6 months to 6 years old, the Moderna shot is two 25 microgram doses given four weeks apart. Each child does is one-quarter of the adult version.
The Pfizer shot, recommended for kids 6 months to age 5, is a three-dose series.
A vaccine advisory committee voted on June 15 in front of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommending “Emergency Use Authorization” of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children starting at just 6 months old.
According to NBC News, the FDA committee “voted to recommend the Moderna vaccine for kids under 6, which is a two-dose vaccine, and the Pfizer vaccine for kids under 5, which is a three-dose vaccine. Both votes were unanimous.”
"Neither Moderna nor Pfizer reported any cases of myocarditis among the youngest children,” NBC reported.
NBC also reported that "The federal government started taking orders from states two weeks ago for 10 million doses." The implication of that order being the FDA committee vote was already seen as a done deal by the White House.
What's unsaid about approving vaccinations for children as young as six months old is that it potentially lays the groundwork for all school-aged kids to be vaccinated in order to attend school.
In a Congressional hearing on June 16, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called out Dr. Anthony Fauci on the lack of studies showing a benefit to young children from the vaccine or from boosters.
"Are you aware of any studies that show reduction in hospitalization or death for children who take a booster?" Paul asked Fauci.
"Right now, there's not enough data that has been accumulated, Senator Paul, to indicate that that's the case," said Fauci, who then began to claim government recommendations are based on an “assumption” of child mortality and morbidity in their different age groups.
Paul interrupted Fauci stating, "So there are no studies. And Americans should all know this. There are no studies on children showing a reduction in hospitalization or death with taking a booster.”
Fauci shot back that Paul's example was "somewhat of an absurd exaggeration,” to which Paul responded that there was “ probably some indication" boosters do offer protection for older individuals and those with certain comorbidities.
Paul continued, saying there was no evidence that was the case for younger people but that there is a risk of myocarditis (heart inflammation) in young people associated with mRNA vaccines.
"The risk of myocarditis with a second dose for adolescent boys 12 to 24 is about 80 in 1 million," said Paul, noting that data point came from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a now well-known Israeli study.
“It's also in the VAERS study - remarkably similar,” said Paul, noting the risk of myocarditis for young boys was “much higher.”
"So there is risk and there are risks, and you're telling everybody in America ‘just blindly go out there because we made antibodies’," Paul said.
Watch the full exchange between Paul and Fauci: