Covid-19 vaccines for kids under 12 are getting closer
Parents eager to vaccinate their young children against Covid-19 have been waiting for months to find out when the shots will be available. Now, the timeline is finally becoming a bit clearer. Pfizer expects to have enough data to apply for emergency use authorization of its vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 by the end of September — which is good news for parents who are anxious about making it through a new school year as the delta variant continues to surge.
From the time that application is submitted to the FDA, the company could get the green light in a matter of weeks — it took three weeks, to be exact, for Pfizer’s adult vaccine to be granted emergency use authorization.
That would make about 50 million American kids eligible for the shots, according to NPR. Pfizer’s vaccines for kids younger than five are expected to follow soon after.
Moderna, meanwhile, won’t be far behind with its vaccine, either. It’s also looking to apply for emergency use authorization for kids 6 and up by the end of this year, with vaccines for younger children to follow in early 2022.
Vaccines for adults have been available since December, but both companies have done lengthy trials for kids broken down by age group. “We are testing different doses in the different age groups because younger children may not need the same dose as adults,” Modern’s senior V.P. Dr. Jacqueline Miller told NPR, adding that so far results have been similar to adults and that there are no safety concerns.
Coronavirus cases have been steadily rising in many parts of the country over the past weeks as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads. Kids accounted for more than 120,000 cases between August 5 and August 12, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). That’s almost 20 percent of cases in the entire U.S. So what’s driving that increase?
“The rates among children are going up because the rates among unvaccinated family members in their homes are going up,” Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a member of the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, told the New York Times. Until kids can get vaccinated themselves — they’re relying on the grown-ups around them to do so.
Around 70 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine so far– for kids old enough to be eligible already, that number is much lower at just about 30 percent. With more children all over the country returning to classrooms every week, many of them unmasked, the numbers of them who get infected may very well just keep on rising. It’ll take vaccines — for people of all ages — to stop that from happening.