- High-school children should be able to get a COVID-19 vaccines this fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC.
- Children under 12 would likely get vaccine access in early 2021, he said.
- No coronavirus vaccines have been authorized for children under 16 in the US so far.
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A coronavirus vaccine for elementary-school children will “very likely” come in the first few months of 2022, Dr Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, said Sunday.
High-school children should be able to get access to vaccines in the fall of this year, he added.
“If you project realistically when we’ll be able to get enough data to be able to say that elementary school children will be able to be vaccinated, I would think that would be, at the earliest, the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022,” Fauci told NBC.
“But for the high school kids, it looks like some time this fall. I’m not sure it’s exactly on the first day that school opens, but pretty close to that,” he said.
Vaccine makers have started trials on children
Some drugmakers have already started studies into which vaccines are suitable for children, Fauci said.
FDA regulators have so far given emergency use authorization to three coronavirus vaccines in the US, developed by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer and BioNTech.
Johnson & Johnson and Moderna’s vaccines have only been authorized for those 18 and older, while Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine has been authorized for those 16 and older.
In January, Moderna’s CEO, Stephane Bancel, said it would begin studying its coronavirus vaccine in young children “soon,” but added data most likely wouldn’t be available until 2022.
He said that Moderna was aiming to have the vaccine approval extended to adolescents ages 12 and older by this summer, so they can be vaccinated before returning to school in September. Trials began in December.
The University of Oxford, which has developed its vaccine with AstraZeneca, said in February it would start testing its vaccine in children as young as six. The vaccine has not yet been authorized for emergency use in the US.
Biden wants to reopen schools safely and quickly
An integral part of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus recovery program is to help schools reopen safely, and he plans to open the majority of K-8 schools within his first 100 days in office.
In the American Rescue Plan, his $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, he called on Congress to provide $130 billion to help schools reopen safely, by supporting social distancing in school buildings and facilitating remote learning. This includes reducing class sizes, improving building ventilation, hiring more janitors, ensuring every school has access to a nurse, and increasing school buses so that pupils can social distance while onboard.
As of Sunday morning, more than 75 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US, according to the CDC. Most of these have been given to people aged 18 and older, but more than 40,000 have been given to people younger than 18, according to the CDC data.