COVID-19 vaccines for children in the Kansas City metro could begin as soon as late summer or early fall

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When will children be able to get COVID-19 vaccines? (AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Thousands of people on both sides of the state line have been vaccinated, or are in the process of getting vaccinated, against COVID-19.

There is still a huge number who don’t qualify to get the vaccine. At this point, none of the vaccines that have Emergency Use Approval from the FDA are approved to use with children under the age of 16.

Studies are underway to determine if the vaccines are safe for children, but it could be another year before those vaccination clinics begin, according to doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

“If we could start doing teens by the end of summer, early fall, maybe if we’re lucky, we could start vaccinating children below the age of 12 by the end of 2021. Hopefully by 2022 we will be vaccinating all kids across the board,” said Dr. Jennifer Watts, Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children’s Mercy.

The hospital has been approved for future trials for both Pfizer and Moderna. There is an interest survey available on the hospital’s website. Enrollment for the trial will begin in the next month or so.

“Waiting on that data to come in to make sure the right dose is given to children to make sure all the safety monitoring has been looked at is critical,” Watts said.

Children’s Mercy said it has been able to vaccinate some of its older high-risk patients when the hospital’s received doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

“We are hopeful that by the end of summer, early fall, that we will be vaccinating the older teens as well,” Watts said. “An EUA could come out, but until we are through the tiers we are currently set in, you know kids probably won’t be prioritized until after all of those adults are done.”

That means everyone will need to continue to take precautions, according to health experts at the University of Kansas Health System.

“There’s going to be a lot of families who are unvaccinated as a family for a long time still,” said Dr. David Wild, Vice President of Performance Improvement, at the University of Kansas Health System.

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