Experts say there might not be a COVID-19 vaccine for kids before fall 2021
The vaccine race is on, but unfortunately, those Operation Warp Speed COVID-19 vaccines may only apply to adults and some experts worry that a vaccine that’s safe for children may not arrive before Fall 2021. Currently, a number of U.S. based vaccine manufacturers are already in human clinical trials, but those humans are all over 18. Finding out if the vaccine is safe for kids would require an entire round of clinical trials on children, and a group of experts are scratching their heads and wondering why testing the vaccine to make sure it’s safe for children isn’t a priority yet?
A group of pediatricians, researchers, and scientists published a commentary in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in which they wondered aloud why vaccine makers haven’t even begun to ensure if their vaccines are safe for kids.
“Right now I’m pretty worried that we won’t have a vaccine available for kids by the start of next school year,” Emory's Evan Anderson tells @nytimes on #COVID19 #vaccine for children https://t.co/CkvVhOALOn
— Emory University News (@EmoryNews) September 22, 2020
“Despite efforts to advance vaccines for adults at warp speed, COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials for children remain stuck in neutral. Children are infected with SARS-CoV-2, transmit the virus, and suffer COVID-19 complications,” the commentary read. “These initial pediatric studies should be conducted in parallel with adult efficacy trials, rather than delaying until adult efficacy is established.”
Put more simply, Dr. Evan Anderson, a pediatrician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and one of the co-authors of the statement, told The New York Times, “Right now I’m pretty worried that we won’t have a vaccine available for kids by the start of next school year.”
“For children, a vaccine has the added benefit of returning them safely to school and extracurricular activities, and allowing them to engage with their world face-to-face once again,” the experts warned.
A group of pediatricians is pushing for trials of #covid19 vaccines for children to get started. Right now, it doesn’t look like they’ll be ready for the next school year. Here’s my piece for @nytimes https://t.co/oQQ786TQ4I
— Carl Zimmer (@carlzimmer) September 21, 2020
In their statement, the experts claimed that Operation Warp Speed could have started running trials for children over the summer, but they didn’t. It’s unclear why the vaccine makers haven’t begun testing the vaccine on any adolescents yet, though The New York Times spoke to some specialists who theorized that it was because children have a low mortality rate when it comes to the virus and therefore might not have been a priority to vaccine researchers. However, as schools have reopened across the country and along with it, hotspots and outbreaks, those kids are capable of infecting their teachers and family members as well.
As for the current vaccine plans, Dr. Fauci previously stated that despite the fact that the vaccine might be available by the end of this year, it might take all the way until next summer to vaccinate the whole country, though it’s now unclear if he meant everyone in the country or all adults in the country as this new group of expert aren’t even sure if children will be vaccinated by next fall.
Unfortunately, keeping up with the vaccine race is confusing due to constant misinformation coming out of the White House and having to rely on a patchwork of information from independent experts. As always, information about COVID-19 is constantly evolving.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.