COVID-19 Vaccine For Toddlers Could Be Ready By Spring 2022, Dr. Fauci Says

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The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for toddlers and babies could happen by spring 2022, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

In an interview with Insider, Fauci said that, while it's only his own speculation, the COVID-19 vaccine for toddlers could be ready within a shorter period of time. He cautioned that the pharmaceutical companies have to complete their clinical trials first before proceeding with the vaccination program.

Pfizer-BioNTech stated in a press release in September that the results of the clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine for toddlers, or children ranging from two to four years old and six months to below two years old, might be out by the last quarter of 2021. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will not be in a rush to approve the data until they are certain of the safety and efficacy of the vaccines in very young kids.

Read Also: COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids: Detroit Mom Explains Why She Signed up Her Vulnerable Baby for the Vaccine Trial

Caution Highly Needed

Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and immunologist, said that caution on vaccine approvals for younger children is highly necessary. Thus, there will be no approvals from any government body without any data from the trials.

Fauci also told CNN that there is still no data to be presented for the under five-year-old group since the trials are still ongoing. However, the expert is confident that they will be able to answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for toddlers and its immunogenicity "within a reasonable period of time."

The virus infection is generally not as severe among toddlers and babies compared to adults yet experts estimated that at least one in every 1,000 young children may get the disease. Experts are also aware that some toddlers and babies could develop multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) if they develop COVID-19 and doctors are still grappling to understand the impact of this syndrome,

Some immunologists believe that younger kids also react differently to the vaccines, hence the importance of the trials to confirm all the assumptions with well-supported data. While Fauci said that vaccination for toddlers and infants could start in early 2022, Pfizer estimated the rollout could be underway in April next year, at the earliest.

Countries Vaccinating Toddlers Against COVID-19

Across the world, the most common vaccination for kids is ongoing for those in the 12 to 17 age group. However, some countries, such as the U.S., have started vaccinating those between the ages of five to 11 this winter. 

In China, the age of vaccination is lower as the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine for toddlers started in June. Chile has been vaccinating children below six years old since September, using the Chinese vaccine Sinovac. Argentina has also rolled out their vaccine program for children as young as three years old using Sinopharm, another Chinese-made vaccine. Cuba is also vaccinating kids as young as two using vaccines they've developed, Soberana 2 and Soberana Plus.

The push to vaccinate younger children comes as pediatricians have warned that COVID-19 could leave a deep and lasting impact on the kids as some could end up in intensive care with breathing tubes and ventilators. Hospitalization is a scary experience for young children who may not understand what is going on. The doctors said that the vaccine still outweighs the risks and it could help control the virus to promote herd immunity when the world will be finally rid of COVID-19 for good.

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