This Is When We'll Know If the COVID Vaccine Is Safe for Kids, Fauci Says
While COVID vaccines may be administered soon to some, kids won't top the list to receive them.
With Pfizer and Moderna's COVID vaccines being submitted for emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it may not be long before the vaccines begin being administered in the United States. However, there's one piece of information that's thus far been missing from vaccine discussions: when COVID vaccines will be deemed safe for kids. Read on to discover what Anthony Fauci, MD, has to say about when we'll know if the COVID vaccine is safe for pediatric use. And for more recent information on the vaccine, check out The Vaccine Will Only Keep You Safe From COVID for This Long, Fauci Says.
During a Nov. 29 interview with Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd mentioned that neither Pfizer nor Moderna had done wide-scale testing of their COVID vaccines on pediatric subjects, leaving many concerned about when the vaccine will be deemed safe enough to administer to those under 18. According to Todd, Moderna did not do any clinical trials with subjects under the age of 18, and Pfizer's trials did not go below age 12. In response, Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), revealed that "it's going to be months" before medical professionals can say for certain that the vaccine is safe for kids.
"Children as well as pregnant women, are vulnerable. So, before you put [the vaccine] into the children, you're going to want to make sure you have a degree of efficacy and safety that is established in an adult population, particularly an adult, normal population," explained Fauci.
While he couldn't give a precise date for the rollout of a pediatric COVID vaccine, Fauci said it could happen early this winter. "There are ways to get children vaccine by, let's say, maybe in January," said Fauci, admitting this was just his estimate. "We're going to start the process very likely in January to get it to the children sooner rather than later," he added.
Read on to discover what precautionary measures will need to be in place before the vaccine can be administered and who's likely to receive it first. And if you want to know more about the vaccine, check out These Are the COVID Vaccine Side Effects Doctors Are Worried About.
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The pediatric vaccine will have to go through two rounds of trials.
Fauci explained that, in order to be deemed safe for pediatric use, the COVID vaccine will have to go through two sets of trials: a Phase I and a Phase II a trial.
"You find out is it safe in children and does it induce the kind of immune response that's comparable to that in adults," said Fauci. This will then be followed by a "bridging study," which shows a similar immune response between adults and children who've been given the COVID vaccine, he explained. And for more insight into coronavirus immunizations, Dr. Fauci Says You Should Expect These COVID Vaccine Side Effects.
Healthcare workers will be among the first groups to receive the vaccine.
Healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic will likely be among the first groups to be vaccinated.
"Certainly healthcare workers will be up there," said Fauci. However, he admitted, "we don't have enough vaccine right now, in the first—you know, in the last week or two or three of December—to be able to get everybody who needs to [be vaccinated]." And for more up-to-date information on COVID, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Nursing home residents will likely be vaccinated early, too.
With COVID outbreaks hitting nursing homes particularly hard, those residents will be among the groups likely to get inoculated early, Fauci said. "I think you can get them protected reasonably soon because obviously they're very vulnerable," he said.
Fauci noted that there would likely be a hierarchy of needs in terms of the vaccine distribution following nursing home patients. "You go down the list of people who are elderly, with or without underlying conditions, and you get the different priorities after that," he explained. And for more on who will be in the early group, check out These Will Be the Very First People to Get the COVID Vaccine, CDC Says.
People who recovered from COVID should still get vaccinated.
When Todd asked Fauci, "If someone has had COVID-19, do they get vaccinated?" the NIAID director responded, "You know, the answer is very likely yes. … Since we don't know the durability of protection from someone who has already been infected, how long that protection lasts, it would not be surprising that we would be vaccinating people who have recovered from COVID-19." And if you're curious if you silently battled the virus, This Is the Tell-Tale Sign You've Already Had COVID, According to a Doctor.