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Walmart, pharmacy chains plan to vaccinate young children with COVID shots after authorization

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June 16 (Reuters) - CVS Health Corp and Walmart Inc and Rite Aid Corp plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to young children in the United States if they are authorized by authorities, the companies said on Thursday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is likely to authorize Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six months to under six years old and the Pfizer Inc /BioNTech vaccine for children aged six months to under five years old as soon as this week, with the Biden administration planning a rollout of the shots as early as next week.

The Pfizer/BioNTech shot is already authorized for children over the age of five.

While the FDA authorization would be for children as young as six months, a CVS spokesperson said the company only plans to provide COVID vaccinations for children as young as 18 months old at their MinuteClinic health clinics, which have healthcare workers with experience in vaccinating kids.

A spokesperson for Walmart said the retail giant and its unit Sam's Club plan to begin vaccinating children as young as 3. Still, the company expects the majority of these vaccines to be distributed to pediatric providers once authorized.

Rite Aid said it is prepared to provide COVID-19 vaccines to children ages three and over.

Advisers to the FDA on Wednesday unanimously recommended the agency authorize COVID vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech for millions of the youngest American children.

After the FDA authorizes the vaccines the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will make its recommendations on use of the shots in young children. A committee of the CDC's outside advisers is scheduled to meet on Friday and Saturday. (Reporting by Leroy Leo in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)