A COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 can soon become a reality. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer submitted clinical trial data for the Food and Drug Administration yesterday. They are hoping that the data will show that their COVID-19 vaccine for children is safe and effective.
Despite their optimism, experts believe that vaccinating children won’t necessarily bring about an end to the pandemic.
Pfizer Submits Clinical Data for COVID-19 Vaccine For Children
Last Thursday, Pfizer submitted clinical trial data to the Food and Drug Administration for its Covid vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The vaccine is similar to that given to adults, although shots might contain smaller doses.
Afterward, Pfizer will need to submit a formal request for emergency use authorization. According to many experts, a realistic date for approval will take until mid-October. Using this timeline, COVID-19 vaccines for children may be available for American kids as early as late October or early November.
Meanwhile, Pfizer’s competitors Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are still finishing up their clinical trials. Moderna expects to follow Pfizer and submit its data to the FDA soon.
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Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said they will move as fast as they can to start the review process for all three COVID-19 vaccines for children.
A COVID-19 Vaccine For Children Can Help In-Person Schooling
The United States has around 28 million children aged 5 to 11. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine for children in this age range can help them attend in-person schooling more safely. This also bumps up the country’s immunization rates. It also makes the US closer to achieving herd immunity.
However, vaccinating children is not the final step towards freedom from coronavirus. It just won’t be the final step.
Currently, the US vaccination status is at 56% of the total US population. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier believed that herd immunity is at 60-70%.
However, the spread of the dreaded Delta variant forced health officials to move the goals. The target for herd immunity is now at 85-90% of the entire population.
A COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Alone Won’t Help Achieve Herd Immunity
Not many American families are on board for an eventual COVID-19 vaccine for children. A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey reported that about a third of American parents will vaccinate their kids right away.
Even if all 28 million American children receive their shots, the immunization rate will only bump up to 64%. Dr. Flor Munoz, associate professor of pediatrics and of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, leads the kids’ Pfizer vaccine trial.
He said that “the fact that the delta variant became predominant and is so much more transmissible is the final factor that is really making herd immunity very, very hard to achieve.”
However, vaccinating more people, especially children, can still help bring down infection rates. It can also make COVID-19 a less dangerous threat. Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that the virus can eventually turn endemic.
Much like the flu, it can mutate into a seasonal condition with less life-threatening symptoms. Arriving at that point can already be a successful end to the pandemic.
Watch the NBC News video reporting that Pfizer says its COVID vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11:
Once a COVID-19 vaccine for children becomes available, will you get your kids vaccinated? Why or why not?
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