4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


Ask Dr. Nandi: COVID vaccines for kids are coming, but not for many months

Posted at 5:26 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 12:49:55-05

(WXYZ) — As more and more people are vaccinated, many parents are starting to ask when will a vaccine be ready for children.

You know, as a father and a physician, I keep a close eye on new developments concerning kids and vaccines. And as of now, there is a possibility that we’ll see vaccines for children sometime in the late summer or early September. But, if it’s a go, vaccines would likely only be available to a specific age group.

That’s because, in Pfizer’s clinical trial, they enrolled just over 2,200 children between the ages of 12 and 15. And in Moderna’s trial, they aimed for 3,000 children between the ages of 12 to 17. Now the ages slightly vary because Pfizer’s vaccine was approved for those aged 16 and up. While Moderna was approved for 18 and up.

Pfizer has said they expect to have trial results by summer. And Moderna expects their results around the midyear point.

If all goes well, then I expect the companies would continue with what we call “age de-escalation”. A fancy term that basically means companies work backward. So if they start testing with adults, as seen with the coronavirus, they would then step carefully down through the age brackets.

Researchers watch for side-effects and make sure the vaccine is safe and produces a strong immune response before moving on to a younger age bracket.

Yes, kids are less likely to get severely sick. But there have been at least 227 deaths. And roughly 2 percent of infected children have needed to be hospitalized. If we have a vaccine for kids, then it would highly likely prevent severe disease as well as death.

It also would do a few other things. Number one - it would help us get to herd immunity. Number two – it would help children in racial and ethnic populations that have been hit the hardest by this infectious virus. And number three – it would help kids get back into school activities that are high risk for transmissions, like band practice or choir classes.

The CDC has listed five key strategies to safely open schools. And here they are…

  • Number one, wear masks at all times and wear them correctly
  • Number two, hands should be washed using proper techniques
  • Number three, have physical distancing rules in place
  • Number Four, schools need regular cleaning and proper indoor ventilation
  • and lastly, if anyone tests positive, then contact tracing, isolation and quarantine will be expected.

Now, these guidelines will not 100% stop virus transmission. But research from classrooms that were open during the pandemic has shown that only a few cases of COVID-19 happened in the schools. And it did not really contribute to virus spread in the surrounding community.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.