American children will receive COVID-19 vaccines by late spring or summer, according to Fauci
American children could start getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as early as this spring, Dr Anthony Fauci said on Friday.
The government’s top infectious disease expert said it was a necessary step to ensure widespread immunity to the coronavirus.
“I hope that by the end of spring and the beginning of summer, we will have children who can be vaccinated,” Dr Fauci said during the White House coronavirus briefing.
The vaccines are not yet approved for children – although Pfizer’s are licensed for adolescents 16 and older – and Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines in children 12 and older.
Even the elderly are struggling to get vaccinated at this time. As of Thursday, only about 1.3% of Americans had been fully immunized with the required two doses of currently available vaccines. Less than seven percent of Americans have received at least a first dose.
Children make up about a quarter of the population, and for the United States to achieve “herd immunity,” or generalized resistance, about 70 to 85 percent of the population must be vaccinated.
This means that every adult in the United States, plus a small portion of children, will likely need to be vaccinated, despite the fact that children rarely get seriously ill or die from COVID-19 and appear to be only a very minor source of transmission. .
But it seems like a distant draw in the midst of a painfully slow vaccine rollout. Despite President Biden’s goal of 1.5 million vaccinations per day, the United States on average only receives about 1.26 million per day, according to Bloomberg.
Dr Fauci predicted that children would start getting vaccinated this spring or summer and that shortened forms of vaccine trials will soon reveal whether the injections are safe for children.
No COVID-19 vaccine is yet approved for children, but Moderna and Pfizer are both testing their vaccines in children 12 years of age and older to make sure they are safe, as children’s immune systems may affect them. react differently. Pictured: High school student Katelyn Evans participates in Pfizer’s trial of its COVID-19 vaccine for children in Cincinnati, Ohio (file)
It’s not even enough to protect even the most vulnerable groups, and states say they’re running out of doses to donate, while manufacturers work hard to do more.
Pfizer’s vaccine is licensed for children as young as 16 years old, while Moderna’s vaccine is only licensed by regulatory authorities for use in people 18 years of age or older in the United States.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve vaccines for children, due to insufficient test data on safety and effectiveness for young people.
But Dr Fauci said the data was being collected, through a process called “age de-escalation testing”.
The next step, Dr Fauci said, involves testing in children up to age 12, and if that is successful, it is followed by another round of testing until age nine.
Moderna is currently testing its vaccine in children aged 12 to 17.
Since the initial testing to validate the safety and efficacy of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines involved tens of thousands of people, age-related testing on children can be performed using smaller groups.
“You don’t want to have to go through an efficacy trial, where you involve tens of thousands of children,” Fauci said.
“What you can do is in a much smaller test, measured in the hundreds to a few thousand … what we call safety and … immunogenicity.”
It is a term for whether the vaccine successfully elicits an immune system response.
Less than 7% of U.S. adults received their first dose of coronavirus vaccine
“Children tend not to get as seriously ill as adults, but they can still get sick and some have tragically died,” said Dr Leana Wen, public health expert and emergency physician, who supports Fauci’s goal. .
“Children can also be vectors of transmission, and it is important to have children immunized as we strive for herd immunity.”
After a desperately slow start, the United States is now administering around 1 million shots per day to adults, although that rate is still considered insufficient.
President Joe Biden spoke of 1.5 million hits a day, if it can be done. His administration has set a target of 100 million shots in its first 100 days.
Two more vaccines from US companies are nearing the stage where the FDA can evaluate them for approval. One from Johnson & Johnson only requires one shot.
Biden also set a goal of reopening most schools by the summer and called on government agencies to work with communities to move it forward.
Its US congressional bailout legislation provides $ 50 billion to fund a major testing expansion, which is seen as necessary for the safe reopening of schools and businesses.
Indeed, robust tests can detect the first outbreaks before they spread through a community and trigger shutdowns.
Testing in the United States got off to a chaotic start, and experts say in many parts of the country it is still below average.