PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is encouraged by President Biden’s announcement last week of an operational plan that will ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are readily available for children under the age of 5. Once authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC, this will allow us to continue our work of ensuring that all Philadelphia residents will benefit from being up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines.

As the FDA and CDC conduct their individual reviews of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health understands how critical we are to the success of getting our youngest residents properly vaccinated and will work on our plan to keep you informed of the availability of the vaccine and where to can get it. The Biden Administration anticipates the first vaccinations to start as early as the week of June 20th with the program ramping up as more doses are delivered and more sites begin to vaccinate.

An important factor in determining how quickly this program ramps up in Philadelphia is that many providers are waiting to review the data on the efficacy of these vaccines, which isn’t expected to be released until June 15. This data will inform us of the level of protection provided by each vaccine and will determine whether these providers will order one or both of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. This will likely cause limited availability in the first week of the operation. But we expect the supply of vaccine and providers able to administer it will increase quickly and anticipate that any difficulties with availability will be resolved within the first few weeks.

While many parents are eager to vaccinate their youngest children, others have questions. Therefore, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health will continue to actively provide parents, guardians, and families with all the information they need to answer their questions and enable them to make the best-informed decisions regarding the health of their children.