Just 300,000 children under five years old – less than 1.6% – have got their first Covid jab


Barely one in 70 children under five years old have got their first dose of the Covid vaccine despite it being approved last month.

Health chiefs rubber-stamped jabs for the age group claiming ‘millions’ of parents were ‘eager’ to get their youngsters inoculated.

But three weeks into the drive a senior White House source told CNN that only 300,000 children have been brought forward for the jab, less than 1.6 percent of the 19million-odd who are eligible.

The source insisted uptake was low because it was still early in the drive, and that many parents were holding off getting their children the jab until they had a check-up for another appointment.

But many experts say it is not necessary for children to get the Covid vaccine because they face such a vanishingly small risk of dying from the virus.

Surveys also suggest less than one in five parents want to get their children inoculated against the virus.

Defending the slow uptake to CNN, the source said: ‘It’s predicated on a couple of things: In particular, how parents tend to make these kinds of decisions.

‘The overwhelming majority want to get their kids vaccinated in the pediatrician’s office or family provider’s office and about half say they prefer to do that during an annual wellness visit or routine visit and so that’s how they’re used to vaccinating their kids.’

They claimed officials had ‘expected’ uptake to be slower in this age group compared to five to 11-year-olds.

Within the first three weeks of the roll out for this group, however, 15 percent got their first dose — or eight times more.

‘It’s just kind of what we anticipated, and what we prepared for,’ they alleged.

Children aged six months to five years were able to get the Covid vaccine from June 18 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed off on plans.

Those who receive the Pfizer jab need three doses, with the second administered up to eight weeks later and the third more than eight weeks later.

But those who are offered the Moderna jab only need two doses, with the second also given up to eight weeks after the first.

Both jabs are using doses less than a quarter of the size of those given to adults.

Approving the vaccines for use in the age group last month, health officials said they were safe and effective for the age groups.

But a number of experts have raised concerns over vaccinating children, who face a small risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid and a vanishingly small chance of death.

Official figures show under-5s account for just 0.05 percent of America’s more than a million Covid deaths. 

There are also fears over myocarditis, a form of heart inflammation that may be detected in up to one in 20,000 boys following vaccination. Girls are less at risk from the complication.

While in most cases the condition is mild, scientists are not yet sure of the long-term effects.

Earlier this year Dr Michael Kurilla — who previously sat on the panel — was one of the few members to refuse to approve Covid jabs for five to 11-year-olds.

He told DailyMail.com at the time that while he thinks children with certain conditions that put them at a high risk should receive the shot, it was not clear if they should be approved for healthy children.

Further suggesting why so few children may be vaccinated, the head of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases Dr Sean O’Leary told CNN it was still too early to judge the roll-outs success.

‘The campaign is still getting ramped up,’ he said, adding that there is also ‘often a lag in data’.

O’Leary also noted that many parents are taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, suggesting uptake will rise further.

A total of 5million doses have been distributed across all states except Florida for the vaccine roll out.

When they were approved by the CDC, its director Dr Rochelle Walensky claimed: ‘We know millions of parents and caregivers are eager to get their young children vaccinated, and with today’s decision, they can.’

She added: ‘I encourage parents and caregivers with questions to talk to their doctor, nurse or local pharmacist to learn more about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of protecting their children by getting them vaccinated.’

Uptake across the U.S. has slowed as the roll out expanded into younger age groups.

CDC data showed among people over the age of 75 years 88 percent are fully vaccinated, alongside 93 percent of people aged 65 to 74.

For comparison, among five to 11 year olds just 30 percent are double-jabbed while among 12 to 17-year-olds the level is 60 percent.

A survey carried out in May by health pollster Kaiser Family Foundation found just 18 percent of parents would ‘definitely’ get their child vaccinated against Covid.

But two in five said they would refuse the jab for their children or only get it for them if it was a requirement.

It comes after surveillance by the CDC found more than three quarters of under-18s already have Covid antibodies from a previous infection. 

Pfizer’s shot

How many doses?

Pfizer requires three doses.

How long is it in between doses?

The second is given three weeks after the first, the third is two months later.

How long does it take to reach maximum protection? 

Maximum protection is achieved within 90 days. 

Why does Pfizer only have three doses?

Pfizer contains a lower dosage  which is why it takes longer to reach maximum protection but it may work in your child’s system for longer.

What are the side effects? 

One study showed that Pfizer had less impactful side effects in babies than Moderna. 

Is one more effective than the other?

Experts say no. 

Moderna’s shot

How many doses? 

Moderna requires two doses.

How long is it in between doses?

The first and second doses are given within three weeks of each other. 

How long does it take to reach maximum protection? 

Maximum protection is achieved within 42 days.

Why does Moderna only have two doses?

Moderna has a higher dosage  of the vaccine which is why it works faster 

What are the side effects? 

The side effects are similar, with fever in toddlers and irritability in babies being the most common. 

Is one more effective than the other? 

Experts say no. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk