A clinical trial suggests the Pfizer vaccine could be safely given to adolescents soon
As vaccine rollouts continue, there’s still one piece missing from the national strategy to end this pandemic: Kids. No COVID shot is currently approved for kids — Pfizer is approved for anyone ages 16 and up, and the other two shots that have been given emergency use authorization in the U.S., Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are only for adults ages 18 and over. But a new clinical study may finally change that.
Pfizer is reporting that a study on its vaccine showed that it’s extremely effective in kids ages 12 to 15 — maybe even more effective than it is in adults. Among children who received to shot and not a placebo during the study, not a single one was infected with COVID-19. Kids who were vaccinated were shown to produce a strong immune response, and Pfizer reports that they had no serious side effects.
These finding have only been announced by Pfizer, and detailed information about the clinical trial hasn’t been released. It still needs to go through a peer-review process that will hopefully validate the data. But if that happens, it’s possible for kids to start receiving vaccines before school starts again in the fall. This news is also bolsters hopes for families who have been watching the country reopen without answers about when kids will be able to get vaccines.
The U.S. is one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to getting shots in arms — as of Tuesday, a New York Times database showed that nearly one in three Americans has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 16 percent of American adults are now fully vaccinated. But the country also leads much of the world in cases and deaths, and a recent increase in daily cases has alarmed public health officials. This good vaccine news comes just a few days after they issued warnings to the country that our fight isn’t over, and we still need to mask up, maintain social distancing, and stay home when we can to avoid a fourth wave of infections.
The bottom line? The vaccine may be safe and effective for kids, and we certainly hope that’s the case. But good vaccine news is no reason to stop taking pandemic precautions. We all need to continue to do our part until enough people are vaccinated to stop the spread.