COVID antiviral approved for young kids but vaccine still not available

Fatima Khan, a mother of two, is taking the fight to get young kids vaccinated against COVID-19 into her own hands. 

"We need the FDA to get vaccines to our children — that's really what we need right now," Khan said. "We need them to prioritize children."

On Monday, she and nearly 1,700 parents and doctors across the country filed a Citizen Petition calling on the FDA to approve the COVID vaccine for kids under 5.

"This petition is asking the FDA to do an immediate review of Moderna's data as soon as it's submitted," Khan said. "Right now, the FDA is signaling that they might drag their feet for a few weeks so that Pfizer can catch up. And that to us does not seem moral or scientific or the right thing to do."

The petition comes on the same day the FDA announced the approval of the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19 patients as young as 28 days and weighing about 7 pounds. So many parents across the country don't understand why the drug is approved for that young age group when the vaccine isn't approved yet.

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Long Island mom Katya Shpilberg put both of her kids, ages 6 and 4, in a vaccine trial. She doesn't know if they got the placebo or not, so she signed the petition in order to fight for them and for other families who feel desperate to end this pandemic. 

"It's like denying children an annual flu shot, which prevents against severe illness and this is really an equity issue and an access issue," Shpilberg said.

Dr. Yasmin Khakoo is a pediatrician who treats young cancer patients. She said it is so important for her patients' siblings under 5 to get the COVID shot because it could be a matter of life or death.

"They don't have the ability to fight the infection themselves — they depend on what's called herd immunity, having people around them who are vaccinated so they don't get sick," Khakoo said.