By September or October 2021, children between the ages of 5 to 11 may likely get their vaccination as the Pfizer kids vaccine, currently undergoing trial in four countries, is being fast-tracked for approval.
Reports cited that data from the Pfizer kids vaccine trials should be ready for submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a few months.
Dr. Alejandra Gurtman, Pfizer's vice president of vaccine clinical research and development, said during a vaccine symposium with Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and dozens of public health experts, that they want to have the vaccine ready in September or October.
Pfizer is currently conducting clinical trials for 4,500 children between 5 to 11 years old in the U.S., Spain, Poland, and Finland. In May 2021, Pfizer received approval from the FDA to vaccinate children between 12 to 15 years old following clinical trials in March involving 2,000 children that showed the vaccine is 100 percent effective for adolescents.
Why Parents are Volunteering their Children
The push for Pfizer kids vaccine to be ready by fall comes as troubling COVID-19 variants have emerged, threatening the health of the new vulnerable population: the children.
According to CNN, some parents in the U.S. made an easy decision to enroll their kids in the vaccine trials because of this threat. One family in the U.S. has even entered three children, aged 6, 3, and 14 months.
For parents Rebecca and Michael Calloway, the choice to allow their kids to be part of the children's trials was triggered by the sudden loss of their 3-year-old daughter last Thanksgiving. The child had an undiagnosed type 1 diabetes, an unpreventable disease, and the Calloways believe that they can do something about COVID-19 and protect their other children with the help of vaccines.
Pediatric neurosurgeons Dr. CJ Bui and Dr. Erin Biro were helping in the frontlines when the outbreak first broke in 2020. They enrolled their three kids in the Pfizer kids vaccine trials after seeing the effects of COVID-19 first-hand among the adult patients. The couple strongly believes that children should also get the vaccine as the world fights against this virus.
Dr. Bui said that he and his wife evaluated all the risks and benefits as parents and medical experts. They are happy to say that their children have no side effects from their first Pfizer shots.
Achieving Herd Immunity
According to the experts, achieving herd immunity could only be possible until the children are vaccinated. In the U.S., children make up 20 percent of the total population, and if Americans want to have herd immunity, they will need to vaccinate 85 percent of the population.
In April, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor for the White House, believes that many middle and high school kids would be vaccinated when the new school term starts in September. He also projected that elementary-age kids could get their shots in late 2021 or early 2022.
Aside from the Pfizer kids vaccine, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also conducting trials for children below 12 and will be seeking FDA approvals soon as well.
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