Children under the age of 12 will likely not be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine until late 2021 at the earliest, according to the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“I gotta be honest, I don’t see approval for kids 5 to 11 coming much before the end of 2021,” Dr. Francis Collins, the NIH director, said on NPR.
Pfizer and Moderna, the makers of the two most widely administered COVID-19 vaccines in America, are conducting trials of the shots in children between the ages of 5 and 11.
After they’re done, they will present the data to the Food and Drug Administration, which would decide whether to expand emergency use authorization of the jabs to the age group.
The companies “are working hard on collecting data from rigorous trials” to answer questions like the correct dosage for smaller children, Collins said. Pfizer may submit its data as early as next month.
Until younger kids are able to get a shot, they should wear masks indoors, Collins added.
Still, authorization could come sooner than Collin thinks.
Asked if the age group can get a vaccine before Christmas, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said, “There’s a reasonable chance that that will be the case.”
Fauci is the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is an agency within the NIH.
Fauci, appearing on NBC’s “Today Show,” said he hoped the trials and subsequent data reviews would take place quickly.
U.S. health officials have urged practically everybody to get vaccinated against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, even groups at little risk of contracting severe cases of the virus, such as youth.
The health officials were speaking after drug regulators approved Pfizer’s jab for anyone 16 or older.
The same shot remains under emergency use authorization (EUA) for children between the ages of 12 and 15.
Moderna’s shot has not received approval. Both it and Pfizer’s shot received EUAs in December 2020.
A single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also being administered under EUA.