Vaccines could be approved for children before school starts in fall, doctors say

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thousands of people in the U.S. are getting vaccinated every day as states and counties receive larger shipments of the vaccines.

All Kansans age 16 and older are now eligible for the vaccine. The same will be true for people living in Missouri starting April 9. It’s something President Joe Biden said he wants to see happen for all adults in the U.S. by April 19.

While it’s great news, doctors with the University of Kansas Health System said we’re still waiting for the OK to vaccinate another large section of the population.

The FDA gave Pfizer emergency use authorization for its vaccine to be used in people as young as 16. The company has also said its vaccine is safe and effective in kids 12 and up and has early trials underway to study the vaccine in children as young as 6 months. Moderna is also studying its vaccine on children.

Doctors at KU Health System said during a Facebook Live Wednesday that they expect to see promising data from the drug makers soon.

“I don’t see or envision a lot of mechanistic reasons why the safety would be different in the children. Even young people down to 14 immunologically and how their immune system acts is probably very similar to those at 18,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, director of infection prevention and control at KU Health System.

It could lead to news parents have waited months to hear. It’s possible that children could start getting vaccinated against COVID-19 before the end of the year or even sooner.

“In the long run we’ll be giving vaccine down to a very young age is my guess, the question is timing,” said Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer at the health system. “What we’re hearing is that many people believe that data will be out before the fall, and then it’s the question of getting everybody vaccinated before the fall.”

Both doctors said they were waiting on published data from the trials to see if the vaccines are preforming as well as the drug makers said. But both expect the companies to apply for early use authorization with the FDA soon.

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