Vaccinate 58,531 children under 5, if vaccine approved

According to the National Statistics Bureau (NSB), 58,531 under-5-year-olds are unvaccinated in Bhutan. Since these children are unvaccinated, the virus can continue to spread and infect older people. International experts say vaccinating children under five is crucial.

Rixin Jamtsho,the Director of Public Health Department (DPH) in the Ministry of Health (MoH), said that his department has been in contact with Pfizer since COVID-19 purchasing began. MoH has paid Pfizer for paediatric doses (2-4 years). When regulatory authorities approve vaccination for children under 5, MoH will start buying vaccines.

No vaccines for children under 5 are currently approved, and effectiveness data is limited globally. If FDA approves EUA, the health ministry will look for advice from the NITAG. If NITAG recommends COVID-19 vaccines for kids under the age of five, MoH will seek approval from DRA. If all people over 6 months are vaccinated, the health ministry expects to achieve 95% vaccination against COVID-19.

According to a White House briefing, FDA and CDC will decide next week whether to authorise and recommend the first COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5 by June 2022.

FDA’s choice on Pfizer or Moderna’s COVID-19 shots for kids under 5 is expected after 15 June.

The US has a plan in place to ensure that FDA-approved and CDC-recommended vaccines are accessible for their children.

According to international experts, the vaccine could benefit this age group. Pfizer said its three-dose COVID vaccine was 80% effective in preventing symptomatic infection in 6- to 4-year-olds.

Since April, Moderna has been requesting approval for its vaccine for children under 6. The company said the vaccine is 51% effective in children 6 months to 2 years old and 37% effective in children 2 to 5 years old.

Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one approved for 5+-year-olds.