LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE/NBC/CNN) - The COVID vaccine is about to be accessible to younger children. At this time, the Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID vaccine that is authorized for those age 16 and older. The FDA may be close to authorizing that same vaccine for use in adolescents.
“Many families are really ready for this,” Dr. Kris Bryant, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Norton Children’s/UofL said.
Several media reports say the FDA is preparing to authorize Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents between 12 and 15 by early next week. A recent study showed the two-dose Pfizer vaccine was both safe and effective in that age group. Children had side effects similar to young adults. According to CNN, Ben Dropic took part in the vaccine trial.
“This is just trying to beat the virus, trying to get everything back to normal,” Dropic said.
“I think in some parts of the country, we’ve seen clusters of infection related to kids doing normal kid things like participating in sports, not in all communities but, in some,” Bryant said. “Being able to vaccinate teenagers will certainly provide more confidence.”
If the FDA gives the green light, the CDC would then hold an emergency meeting and issue recommendations.
“Many people are expecting it to be a go,” Bryant said. “Certainly next week, maybe the following we’ll have some vaccines for kids as young as 12.”
Because the Pfizer vaccine has some pretty significant storage requirements, it needs to be kept cold. Bryant doesn’t believe it will be in every pediatrician’s office. Kids approved, would likely get the shot at vaccination sites, just like 16 year olds now.
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also testing their vaccines on 12 to18-year-olds with data from Moderna’s trial expected to come soon.
Pfizer and Moderna have also launched trials in even younger children, aged six months to 11 years old. Both companies have said they hope to be able to vaccinate children under 11 as soon as early 2022.