White House COVID-19 advisor Anthony Fauci said that he believes children aged 2 to 5 will need to get three doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
“It turned out that the other dose, namely the other group, from 24 months to four years did not yet reach the level of non-inferiority, so the studies are continued,” said Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, during a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.
Fauci continued to say that for children, “it looks like it will be a three-dose regimen. I don’t think we can predict when we will see an [emergency use authorization] with that because the company is still putting the data before the FDA.”
Clinical trials of the vaccine in children under the age of 5 are underway, including a trial that tests the efficacy and safety of the shots in children aged 6 months to 2 years.
Despite the proclamation, Fauci admitted that he doesn’t “want to anticipate what the [Food and Drug Administration] would do.”
“I think we just need to be patient and know one thing for sure that that’s why the system works because the FDA is very scrupulous in their ability” to investigate the drugs and vaccines, he added.
Children under the age of 5 are the only cohort of the population that’s not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
Numerous studies have shown that children have an exceptionally low chance of hospitalization or death from COVID-19, the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open on Jan. 11 found children aged 17 and younger are at a low risk of developing severe health complications.
“In contrast with some other studies, we did not find that very young infants were at a higher risk for severe outcomes,” the authors also wrote. “In some studies where very young infants were identified as being at higher risk, the outcome of interest was hospitalization or ICU admission, whereas we required specific intensive care interventions or complications.”
In a study published last summer, researchers found that five times more children committed suicide than died from COVID-19 during the initial lockdown in the United Kingdom.
At the same time, data show that some highly-vaccinated regions and countries have seen record numbers of COVID-19 cases in recent days, in part fueled by the Omicron variant. Earlier in January, for example, Israeli health officials announced a new COVID-19 case record despite Israel being one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.
It comes as health officials around the world recently said they are monitoring a potentially more contagious sub-variant of Omicron, known as BA. 2, that has been found in at least 40 countries. Several health agencies in the United States announced the presence of the sub-variant in their respective states.