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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Children could start being vaccinated against COVID-19 in early 2022, says national health experts

Posted at 3:47 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 17:32:14-05

(WXYZ) — There are currently no COVID-19 vaccines authorized for children. But that could soon change. Johnson & Johnson just announced their vaccine for kids could be ready by September.

The community should not be alarmed and here’s why: Johnson & Johnson’s type of vaccine has been used before. The scientific name for it is “AdVac 26”. It was developed for other health conditions like Ebola and HIV. And Johnson & Johnson has said that it’s been used extensively in younger age groups in Africa. Which is why they’re feeling pretty optimistic about the safety profile. Now, J&J is planning clinical trials, starting as early as next week for kids aged 12 to 17. Then they’ll step down the age brackets, all the way down to infants.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has said that high schoolers could possibly be vaccinated starting in Sept. and elementary-aged kids in early 2022. Pfizer and Moderna hoped to have data by the midyear point - or sometime in the summer - from their trials for kids as young as 12. However, Dr. Fauci has said that we may not have data until closer to the fall. Now kids who are 16 and older are officially eligible to get vaccinated with Pfizer’s vaccine. That’s the only vaccine right now that’s approved for 16 and up. But not too many have got the shots, and that’s because teens generally are less at risk of getting severe COVID-19. Plus, there’s still a limited supply. But it is possible that a teen could get the Pfizer shot if they have high-risk health conditions or are considered an essential worker. Now, regarding Pfizer and Moderna trials for kids younger than 12…Moderna plans to start enrollment sometime this month while Pfizer has said they plan to enroll kids aged 5 to 12 in April. And data from those trials likely won’t be available until the first quarter of 2022.

Severe COVID-19 illness generally doesn’t affect most kids but the risk is still there. Nearly 3.17 million kids have tested positive for the coronavirus. And between 1 and 3% have been hospitalized. Some have even died. Now, while child death rates are nowhere near adult death rates, no parent wants to see their child get sick. I certainly don’t. So getting kids vaccinated will have many benefits besides protecting against severe illness. It’ll help to protect adults. It’ll help schools get back to in-person teaching. It’ll help stop variants from developing. And, it’ll get us closer to herd immunity.

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.

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