Could COVID-19 vaccines be available for kids as early as October?

Coronavirus

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Health officials are hopeful the Pfizer vaccine could be approved for younger children as soon as late October.

On CBS News’ Face the Nation, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb discussed how much longer it will take for a COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for kids younger than 12.

Dr. Gottlieb, who also sits on the board for Pfizer, said the company expects trial results for a kids vaccine to be available as soon as the end of September. Within days, Pfizer will submit that data to the FDA to seek emergency use authorization of the vaccine for kids between 5-11.

“I think, in a best case scenario given that timeline I just laid out, you could potentially have a vaccine available to children age 5-11 by Halloween if everything goes well,” Dr. Gottlieb said Sunday.

The number of COVID-19 cases affecting children 5-11 has risen in recent months, but it is not as high compared to younger adults who are contracting the virus at a higher frequency.
Source: Centers for Disease Control

If a children’s vaccine does get approval by the end of October, how would that impact the ongoing battle against the pandemic?

Like the rest of the country, the number of COVID-19 cases affecting children ages 5-11 has risen due to the Delta variant. However, they are not as common compared to younger adults. In Indiana, 4.5% of reported cases come from children ages 5-11. This is below the national level of 4.8%.

Still, a clearance from the FDA would open vaccine eligibility up to millions of children and would provide them an extra layer of protection from the virus.

Allen County Health Commissioner Matthew Sutter discusses how effective the Pfizer vaccine has been for teens 12-18. He suggests they are showing similar effectiveness for children 5-11.

“It looks like (the vaccines) work really well in kids,” Dr. Sutter said. “In ages 12-18, vaccines are extremely effective and they’ve been shown to be safe too.”

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