The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week authorized bivalent COVID-19 boosters from both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech for use in children 6 months and older, making the boosters (which protect against two different strains of the virus) finally available to our youngest children. In response to the announcement, First Focus on Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement:

“We’re pleased to see this additional level of protection offered to the youngest children. What we need now — and what we have needed since COVID vaccines first became available — is a strategy from all levels of government and our communities to increase the alarmingly low vaccination rate among this youngest group. As the weather grows colder and families begin to gather inside for the holidays, we hope that parents and caregivers will take advantage of this extra protection for the babies and the people who love them.”

Children aged 6 months through 4 years old have the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate in the country, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, with just 10% of those children receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

First Focus on Children began calling for a comprehensive, clearly articulated plan to vaccinate the nation’s children in April 2021. Among our most recent recommendations, from August 2021:

  • Create a public education and communications campaign to enable families to make informed decisions and to fight back against misinformation that they may be seeing
  • Use all available federal resources and existing programs for sharing information and reaching families
  • Hold listening sessions for caregivers to learn about their concerns and effective ways to address them
  • Establish an explicit goal of eliminating racial and other disparities in children’s vaccinations.