Thursday, September 23, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines for children younger than 12 years in US could be available by end of next month: report

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Only kids 12 and older are eligible — so far — to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in the U.S. But the shots could be available for younger children as soon as this fall, say researchers studying the vaccine in that age group.

New York, September 13: Amid surging Delta variant cases in the US, COVID-19 vaccines for children younger than 12 years could be available by the end of next month, a media report has said.

A report in The New York Times quoted two health experts as saying that COVID vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 could be available as soon as the end of October, bringing relief to parents of younger children since vaccines are only available for children aged 12 and above.
The NYT report quoted Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration who also sits on the board of Pfizer, as saying that getting the green light for younger children will require careful and expeditious review of the clinical data.
Gottlieb said on the CBS show Face the Nation that in a best-case scenario, the Pfizer vaccine could be ready by October 31 for younger children.
I have confidence in Pfizer in terms of the data that they’ve collected, Gottlieb said.
Dr. James Versalovic, the interim pediatrician in chief at Texas Children’s Hospital, said he agreed with Gottlieb on the possibility of the vaccine for younger children getting approval by October.
We’re doing everything we can now to move these trials ahead, he was quoted as saying in the NYT report.
As hospitalisation of children rises amid a surge in the highly-transmissible Delta variant, Versalovic said that he and his colleagues are seeing record numbers of infected children.
We continue to be on a high plateau and may yet hit another peak, he said.
The report added that both Pfizer and Moderna “are gathering data on the safety, correct dose and effectiveness of the Covid vaccines in children.
“Compared with adults, children diagnosed with COVID are more likely to have mild symptoms or none at all. Children are also far less likely to develop severe illness, be hospitalised or die from the disease, the NYT report said.

The US is the worst-hit country from the pandemic in the world. The country has registered a total number of 40,955,201 COVID-19 cases and 659,970 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus data. (PTI)