Doctor: COVID vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 could be ready by Halloween
Leading health experts say the push to get a coronavirus vaccine authorized for younger children is in full swing.
With the emergence of the delta variant, doctors are seeing COVID infections throughout every age group, including infants and young children.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there has been more than 5 million cases of the coronavirus reported in children.
Pathologist-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital Dr. James Versalovic says masking and other measure can keep children, but help could soon be coming with a vaccine.
Versalovic and former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb are helping to run children’s trials.
“You could potentially have a vaccine available to children ages 5 to 11 by Halloween,” Gottlieb, who is also on Pfizer’s board, says.
Versalovic says they are doing everything they can to move trials ahead and have a vaccine available by October.
The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky says there is urgency for companies to submit their data to the FDA for emergency approval and hopes it will happen by the end of the year.
The FDA has made it clear to parents that they need to wait for formal authorization, saying “the vaccine doses that are currently being studied in younger children are not necessarily the same vaccine doses” that have been approved for other age groups.
Huntington mom Melissa Diamond says approving the vaccine for children under 12 is an important step toward normalcy.
"My daughter said on her birthday -- she said, 'mommy I really want to get the vaccine,"' says Diamond. "So, she can hang out with her friends with or without masks. My 9-year-old, I'll definitely get it for her."
Not all parents agree with a number of parents saying they will not allow their children to get the vaccine.
Dr. Sharon Nachman of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital says there are no steps being skipped or anything being ignored.
“All of the safety data for all of the children will be included in what the FDA looks at,” Nachman says. “And at any point they have the ability to say no. We’d like a few more months or more data looked at.”
Once clinical trials are complete, doctors will work with manufacturers to analyze the data before the manufacturers can submit for emergency use authorization.
The FDA will then evaluate benefit and risks, a process they say can take a few weeks.