The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup today completed its review of the federal process and has unanimously concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective for children as young as 6 months old. The Workgroup provided its confirmation to the governors of Washington, California, Nevada, and Oregon this afternoon.
The Moderna two-dose vaccine series and the Pfizer three-dose vaccine series are now available to children as young as 6 months old. The Washington State Department of Health last week said once vaccines were approved they will begin supplying healthcare providers with vaccines for children ages 6 months to 4 years.
On Friday, June 17, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the vaccines in children as young as 6 months old, and the CDC affirmed that decision on Saturday. The Workgroup reviewed the federal decisions on Saturday and affirmed them today.
The Workgroup thoroughly reviewed safety and efficacy data for the vaccines. The Workgroup found that completion of either vaccine series produced antibody levels similar to those achieved in individuals aged 16-25 years. Observed vaccine reactions among infants aged 6-12 months and children aged 1 through 5 years were consistent with reactions to other vaccines routinely recommended for these age groups.
The Workgroup concluded that the benefits of completing either vaccine series substantially outweigh any known or likely risks. Immunization can be expected to reduce the numbers of COVID-19-related serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in young children while facilitating their participation in normal educational, social and recreational activities.
Washington, Oregon, and Nevada joined California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup in October 2020. The workgroup, made up of nationally-acclaimed scientists with expertise in immunization and public health, has concurrently and independently reviewed the FDA’s actions related to COVID-19 vaccines. It will continue to evaluate other COVID-19 vaccines as they go through the federal process.
Statement from Washington Governor Jay Inslee:
“This is excellent news for Washington families and I know many parents who have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get their youngest children vaccinated. I encourage parents to contact their trusted providers to discuss any questions or concerns. These vaccines remain the most important tool in our continued efforts to keep people safe from severe COVID illness or hospitalization.”
Statement from California Governor Gavin Newsom:
“Vaccines are safe, effective, and widely accessible – we’re strongly encouraging parents to protect their kids from COVID-19 with these vaccines, and California has pre-ordered nearly 400,000 doses that can be administered at the more than 8,500 vaccine sites throughout the state.”
Statement from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak:
“Many families have been waiting for the opportunity to vaccinate their youngest members and I am happy that day has come. Families can have the peace of mind of the thorough review process these vaccines have gone through, but I encourage families to speak to a trusted health care provider about any questions they have. Vaccines protect against serious illness, and I offer my thanks to all those who continue to serve on the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to confirm the recommendations and guidance for COVID-19 vaccines.”
Statement from Oregon Governor Kate Brown:
“This is a long-awaited moment for so many families. With today’s review by leading doctors, pediatricians, and health experts, Oregon parents and children can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for children as young as 6 months old. It is completely normal for parents and kids to have questions about vaccines––I urge you to reach out to your family doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist and get your questions answered today.”