Why is it taking so long for the COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in kids under 12? Parents have been raising concerns about this issue as kids head back to the classroom for the start of the school year.
It’s most problematic because COVID-19 cases are rising among kids, hospitalizations are also increasing, and new variants are being discovered on a weekly basis.
While a major storyline over the summer has been the rise of cases among unvaccinated – lost in that bigger number is the 25% of cases that are made up of kids. They have missed the most extreme of symptoms – the hospitalization increase is worrisome.
“We had really hoped that maybe we would have something in place before we tried to bring kids back into the school classroom, but, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do that,” Dr. Emily Chapman explained. She’s the senior vice president and chief medical officer at Children’s Minnesota.
When will the COVID-19 vaccine be approved for kids?
Trial data is still being collected, but Dr. Scott Gottleib, who sits on the board of the COVID-19 vaccine maker Pfizer, said 5-11 year old approval will likely come in September. Other manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson and Moderna will come later in the fall, or even early winter months.
What does that mean for kids and COVID?
Every moment that passes is an opportunity for additional variants to rise up and gain steam. As students head back to school in the fall and early winter months, health experts will be watching transmission data.
“That’ll put us on a time frame where the vaccines could be available at some point late fall, more likely early winter depending on how long FDA takes to review the application,” Gottlieb explained, speaking to the process that COVID vaccines will have to go through to gain FDA approval among kids.