(WXYZ) — We are getting close to the start of the new school year, and there are still questions about how to keep young children safe from COVID in the classroom. In addition to wearing masks and social distancing, experts say a vaccine for small children is really the best answer.
The timeline for a COVID vaccine for children under 12 is still somewhat fluid.
However, the demand for the vaccine has become more urgent because of the spike in cases of the Delta variant. A lot of those affected are kids. In fact, we’re seeing more COVID cases in children than we have seen throughout the pandemic.
Just last week, more than 94-thousand children were diagnosed with COVID, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Hospitals all over the country are reporting an increase in the number of children admitted to their pediatric COVID units.
Here’s what we know right now about the timeline for having a safe and effective children’s vaccine: Pfizer expects to have its safety data on 5 to 11-year-olds ready by the end of September. Moderna says its data will be ready in mid-fall. Then it will be up to the FDA to authorize the vaccines.
Realistically, it looks like the end of this year or early next year before the first vaccine shots are available for children ages 5 to 11.
It’s expected that a vaccine for toddlers and infants will follow soon after that.
The FDA’s main concern is safety. They recently asked Pfizer and Moderna to increase the pool of volunteers in the clinical trials to get even more data than they have now. That way, even the rarest of side effects can be identified before the vaccine is rolled out nationwide.
The FDA says it is just being thorough, and it doesn’t expect the request for more volunteers to hold up the authorization process, because parents have been very receptive to enrolling their children in the clinical trials.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, the vaccine for younger children will have the same composition as the vaccine for ages 12 and older. However, it will be administered in a smaller dose.
In the meantime, children should mask up, especially in crowded places. And, family members ages 12 and over should get vaccinated. That’s the best way right now to protect younger kids and slow the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Partha Nandi, MD FACP
CEO & Creator
Ask Dr Nandi, Emmy award winning television show
International Best Selling Author, Ask Dr Nandi: 5 Steps to Becoming Your Own #HealthHero for Longevity, Well-Being, and a Joyful Life
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