COVID-19 Vaccine: When Your Kids Can Get It and Everything Else You Should Know

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COVID-19 vaccine trials for adolescents or children 12 and older trials are now underway. But, it may take more months for younger children.

Sources say the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna is only recommended for adults 18 and over and Pfizer 16 and older. Looking forward, by 2021 spring, children who are 12 years old and older will possibly be allowed to be vaccinated. They also said that this might not be the same for younger ones. 

Around three thousand children aged 12-17 are currently enrolled in the Moderna COVID-19 testing program. According to Dr. Kawsar Talaat, the lead investigator of the Johns Hopkins adult phase 3 research site for Pfizer, Pfizer has only completed the first doses for two thousand children aged 12-15.

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Dr. Talaat, who was also an auditor for the COVID-19 vaccine trial for AstraZeneca, says that Pfizer's teenage study is somewhat similar to the adult trial. After the second shot, Pfizer requires two months of evidence before they can petition the FDA to approve children 15 and younger under their Emergency Usage Permit.

Dr. Talaat said, "So I'm hoping that adolescents will be approved sometime this spring," Stressing that, and considering that they may not be a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine, children will always have to wait for their turn.

Dr. Fauci reiterated the timeframe for COVID-19 vaccine authorization and said, "I would say a matter of a few months, two or three months." But that's only children 12 and older. Trials for kids five to 11 should start later this year.

Dr. Talaat projected the COVID-19 vaccine for kids, "It probably won't happen until fall at the earliest."

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Modified COVID-19 vaccine for younger children

Dr. Talaat said, "Any COVID-19 vaccine that we put into a vulnerable population, and children fall under that vulnerable population, definitely receives special scrutiny." 

If populations will achieve herd immunity without adolescent COVID-19 vaccination, it is unknown. Experts predict that to reach that point, 75% of individuals or more need to be vaccinated.

This brings us to the question, can we reach herd immunity without COVID-19 vaccines for kids?

Dr. Fauci said, "Theoretically you could, if you look at the numbers," and added, "But I think, given the fact that not every adult is going to get vaccinated, you're likely going to have to include children in that."

A pediatrician with Children's National Hospital, Dr. Sarah Schaffer DeRoo, says, "We want to protect children so that we can protect other household members," but also worried about "the levels of vaccine hesitancy among adults. If we have a certain number of adults who do not find COVID-19 vaccine acceptably, then we need to include children to attain herd immunity."

Dr. Schaffer DeRoo also said, "I'm worried that Vaccinations for teenagers under 18 will require two layers of consent: one from a parent and the other from the child," and added, "So getting teens to buy into that COVID-19 vaccine is going to be a big part of the process." 

The bottom line is, the FDA will allow children 12-15 to be injected with the COVID-19 vaccine by spring, but they would also have to wait their turn, and they will not be a priority category. It'll likely be many more months for younger kids.

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