COVID

Dr. Megan Ranney says there should still be urgency to get kids under 5 vaccinated. Here’s why.

“No parent wants their kid admitted to one of my intensive care units, and these vaccines help prevent that.”

Dr. Megan Ranney has a message for parents across the country: It remains urgent for kids under 5 years old to get vaccinated as soon as the shots are approved. 

The emergency room physician and academic dean at the Brown University School of Public Health weighed in on the issue Wednesday during an appearance on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

An advisory panel at the Food and Drug Administration this week voted unanimously to approve vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer for kids younger than 5 years old. A panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to take up the matter over the weekend.

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Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said this week that the approval of the vaccines for the nation’s youngest children would be a “major milestone” in the fight against the ongoing pandemic. 

“Because for the first time, every American, from our oldest to our littlest ones, everybody is going to be eligible to be protected with these life-saving vaccines,” Jha, who is on leave from his position of dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said

The decision from the FDA alone is a “huge win for parents of little kids,” Ranney said Wednesday. 

“Yes, many kids have been exposed to COVID already,” Ranney said. “But we know that the durability of those antibodies from natural infection is not strong. And particularly during omicron, we’re finding that folks are getting reinfected.” 

Recent studies of the vaccines during the omicron wave showed both shots from Moderna and Pfizer were effective at preventing many infections and hospitalizations, she said. 

“No parent wants their kid admitted to one of my intensive care units, and these vaccines help prevent that,” Ranney said. 

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The doctor said the data “is really clear.”

And with the difficulty of having such young kids follow COVID precautions or be masked, the vaccines are “really critical” to allaying the fear that tots will end up seriously sick from the virus, she said.

“For every million doses of vaccine administered, we’re going to keep about 250 kids out of the hospital,” she said. “That is terrific. … With this latest wave we saw more of those littles, those 0 to 4-year-olds, being hospitalized on a relative basis compared to prior waves. That was for two reasons. First, omicron is more transmissible, so more kids were getting infected. And second, we’ve vaccinated so much of the rest of this population.

“Once we can get vaccines in the arms of little kids, we’ll see that number of hospitalizations for 0 to 4-year-olds drop as well,” she continued.

Ranney also noted in a Twitter thread about the vaccines for young children that the side effects were “minimal and quick to resolve.”

Watch her full appearance on CNN below:


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