Why children can’t get the COVID-19 vaccine yet. Here’s who else may have to wait
The first wave of vaccinations against coronavirus are fully underway now that doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine are getting dispensed alongside Pfizer’s vaccine. For the sweeping majority of folks, the vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna have been shown to be safe in large-scale, months-long clinical trials. However, just like with any new drug, doctors encourage caution when taking coronavirus vaccines, especially for people who have had adverse reactions to vaccinations in the past.
For example, one of the safety measures that’s becoming standard with the coronavirus vaccines involves remaining on-site for a period of time after getting the injection. That’s to give medical professionals time to monitor for any adverse reactions, but it doesn’t mean doctors expect anything bad to happen. Out of over 1.1 million people to get vaccinated so far in the US, only a tiny handful have had allergic or other kinds of reactions.
What about children, people with known allergies and pregnant or nursing mothers? Here, we compile available data from the FDA and CDC, along with information from leading health experts, to present a guide on who is advised to take the COVID-19 vaccine and who should contact a medical professional first.
When will there be a coronavirus vaccine for kids?
Right now, Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is authorized for use in people aged 16 and older. (Moderna’s is designated for 18 and older.) That’s because, of the several dozen COVID-19 vaccines under development including Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, none has yet been tested in children who are 12 or younger. That’s to be expected. Vaccines are typically tested first in adults before researchers begin tests in children, once the drug has been found to be relatively safe.
Another factor is that COVID-19 seems to mostly spare children from the worst outcomes. A CDC report from September counted only 121 children among the 190,000 people who had died so far in the US from coronavirus. Other research has found that children catch and spread coronavirus about half as much as adults, though they are still considered vectors in the spread of COVID-19, especially among high-risk populations. For example, a report from the CDC this summer highlighted a Georgia summer camp where coronavirus ran rampant, resulting in over 250 kids and young adults testing positive for COVID-19.
Moderna will begin pediatric clinical trials soon with kids aged 12 through 17, the company announced in early December. That’s a good sign…Read more>>