When will kids be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Great news! Multiple COVID-19 vaccines are in, or nearing, clinical trials in children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Pfizer's trial for children age 12 and older is seeing positive initial results, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine could start children's trials soon, too.
Moderna launched a clinical trial for 12- to 17-year-olds in December 2020, and recently announced that they have kicked off a pediatric study that will evaluate its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six months to 12 years.
When any of these vaccines will become available to children depends on the results of those trials. But the AAP says some children may be able to get vaccinated by the start of the next school year.
How vaccines are tested in kids
Vaccines are usually tested in adults first. If they're shown to be safe for adults, then they can be tested on children in gradually younger age groups. In some cases, children's vaccines may be tested at lower doses than for adults.
Like adult trials, children's trials are broken into three phases. The first phase tests the vaccine in about 20 to 100 volunteers. If all goes well, phase two involves testing in several hundred volunteers. Then phase three tests the vaccine in hundreds or thousands of volunteers.
Even if the timeline is compressed, a vaccine must pass all three stages. It will get the OK only if it's shown to be safe and effective for kids.
New CDC guidelines for school
According to new guidelines from the CDC, K-12 students can now safely sit three feet apart in the classroom as long as they wear masks but should be kept six feet apart at assemblies, sporting events, lunch, and in common areas such as the school lobby. Teachers and other adults should continue to stay six feet from one another and students.
CDC guidelines for K-12 students could change once kids are being vaccinated.
Will schools require COVID-19 vaccinations?
The AAP and others can make recommendations. But whether children will need a vaccine to enroll in school will be up to each state government.
Want to know more? Watch this short video that explains why the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
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Last Updated: 04/07/2021