COVID-19 vaccinations for young children now expected to start later than originally planned as US president pushes back
As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps around the globe, the US government will now consider a request from the country’s governors to begin offering vaccinations to young children.
The Trump administration has been pushing back, first citing logistical and operational issues that have forced the delay but also rejecting the idea outright.
US President Donald Trump. File photo: Reuters
The move has sparked a backlash from parents who say it’s too soon to vaccinate against the coronavirus, not because the risks are too great but because they’re worried that there aren’t enough available government health workers to do it.
On Thursday, the White House said it would consider waivers to allow states to begin vaccinating under certain circumstances.
Here, we look at the timeline of events, the options available and how the vaccines relate to the ongoing pandemic that’s spreading through the country and across the globe.
WHO: US decision delayed ‘up to an additional eight weeks’
On 17 February, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its coronavirus task force recommendation to vaccinate against the virus.
The proposal was to vaccinate against the coronavirus for all children in their first two years of life and for a cohort of children who are considered vulnerable to severe outcomes from coronavirus.
In a “correspondence” dated 8 March, the CDC said it would allow states to “waive specific requirements based on specific circumstances”.
But it stopped short of making an absolute guarantee to start vaccinating the day after the decision to waive the requirements was issued.
“The CDC is currently considering a number of factors, including the timing of a potential waiver of the requirement for states to vaccinate children younger than two years, in part due to logistical and operational concerns,” the CDC said.
“This decision will be delayed by up to an additional 8 weeks as we continue to evaluate the information available and gather additional information.”
Who is eligible for vaccine coverage?
The CDC’s waiver letter said only children under the age of two who needed a