NEW YORK (AP) – When can children get vaccinated against COVID-19?
It depends on the age of the child, but some teens may be able to roll up their sleeves in no time.
The Pfizer vaccine is already licensed for use from the age of 16. That means some high school students could line up for those shots as long as they are eligible in their area, be it for a medical condition or once they become available.
Pfizer and Moderna have completed enrollment for studies of children 12 and older, and expect to release the data over the summer. If regulators clarify the results, younger teens could also start getting vaccinated once the supply allows. Currently, the Moderna vaccine is licensed for people over 18 years of age.
The researchers started with older children because they tend to respond to vaccines more similarly to adults. The test even in younger groups is more complex, because they may require a different dose or have different responses.
“Children are not just little adults,” said pediatrician Dr. James Campbell of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “The younger you get, the greater the chances that things can be different.”
Children develop serious illness or die from COVID-19 at much lower rates than adults, but they can still transmit the virus.
“There’s no question: we want to immunize children,” said Dr. Sarah Long, a professor of pediatrics at Drexel University.
Pfizer and Moderna hope to begin studies in children under the age of 11 later this year.
“It is unlikely that we can get community protection without vaccinating children,” Long added. “This is the axis for everything to return to normal.”
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