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COVID Vaccine for Kids Could be Authorized by September, Says Fauci

COVID Vaccine for Kids Could be Authorized by September, Says Fauci

According to Dr. Fauci, children as young as first graders may be able to get the COVID vaccine by the time school starts in September, pending trials.

Children as young as first graders may be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by September, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ProPublica. This fact is dependent on the success of the trials in those age groups. 

When can my child get vaccinated?

“We’re in the process of starting clinical trials in what we call age de-escalation, where you do a clinical trial with people 16 to 12, then 12 to 9, then 9 to 6,” Fauci told ProPublica. When asked what was the youngest age group that might be authorized for the vaccine by September, he said, “I would think by the time we get to school opening, we likely will be able to get people who come into the first grade.”

Vaccinating children would help the country as a whole reach herd immunity, in addition to keeping kids safe and restoring stability to the education system. Despite the urgency for safety of vaccinating children, Pfizer is currently the only manufacturer whose pediatric vaccine trials are far enough along to potentially have the data needed by the end of the summer.

Who would produce the vaccine for children? 

Pfizer is the furthest along in its pediatric trials, having just finished enrolling trial participants in its study of 12- to 15-year-olds. A spokeswoman for Pfizer said the brand expects to have data in “the early part of 2021." Moderna is still enrolling participants in a trial for adolescents ages 12-18 and expects to see data "around mid-year 2021," according to the company. Johnson and Johnson has not begun pediatric studies yet. AstraZeneca plans to begin tests in 12- to 18-year-olds next month, according to Bloomberg news. 

Pediatricians and infectious disease experts wish the pediatric trials would move quicker, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has been “really advocating to try and make these trials happen with the same urgency that they happen for adults,” Sean O’Leary, MD, vice chair of its committee on infectious diseases, told ProPublica.

Why should my child get vaccinated?

While you may have heard COVID-19 doesn't make children severely ill, it is still possible. Additionally, the long-term effects of COVID in children are still up in the air. About 2.2 million of 20 million U.S. cases of COVID-19 have been in children younger than 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Additionally, more than 2,000 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a serious condition associated with COVID-19 that can result in cardiac dysfunction and kidney injury, have been tracked by the CDC.

Almost most importantly, vaccinating children means getting one step closer to restoring normalcy for them in the form of schools, after school programs, play dates, birthday parties, and more.

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Melissa Wickes

Author: Melissa Wickes, a graduate of Binghamton University and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, is the production editor for NYMetroParents. She's written hundreds of articles to help New York parents make better decisions for their families. When she's not writing, you can find her eating pasta, playing guitar, or watching reality TV. See More

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