Children Under 5 Await To Be Vaccinated


Kids under 5 still waiting for Covid-19 vaccine protection

Pfizer said in an earnings call last week that it was targeting the first half of 2022 to submit data from its trials to regulators, and that the news of a third dose should not affect this timeline. But many had hoped that approval would come sooner than that.

Dr. Simon Li, who is working on the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine trial said the trial there is going well. His lab will follow the young subjects for two years. Moderna is also gathering data on vaccines in younger children. Johnson & Johnson says it has not started trials of its Covid-19 vaccine for children younger than 12.

Dr. Bill Hartman, who runs the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine trial for kids 6 months to 5 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, thinks a vaccine for this age group could be available as early as the first month or two of 2022.

At first, Li thought it would be difficult to recruit children for the Pfizer/BioNTech trial. Parents can be protective, he said, especially when it comes to vaccines, and it can take a while to recruit volunteers.

The center initially needed to recruit about 150 children ages 6 months to 11 years. In August, the US Food and Drug Administration asked Pfizer to enroll more to verify that there were no safety issues. Even though there were only a handful of available spots, another thousand people asked to be part of the Rutgers trial.

For the Moderna trial, Hartman said the researchers saw so much interest, they had to shut down the recruitment line after only one day.

At this point in the pandemic, kids under 5 make up only a tiny fraction of the number of people who've been sick. This age group accounts for 2.7% of total Covid-19 cases, but 6% of the overall US population.

Kids are also far less likely to be hospitalized or die from Covid-19 than adults, but the virus is still a threat to them. They make up 1.2% of the hospitalizations and 0.02% of the deaths, according to the CDC.

Dr. Claudia Hoyen, director of pediatric infection control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, said that in the past week, they had the highest number of Covid patients in the hospital that they've ever had during the pandemic.

Plus, the more people the virus can infect, the more chance that it will change and become more infectious, like what happened with the Delta variant. Hartman said that as much as parents might want, it's impossible to insulate these kids from the virus.


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