As states across the country gear up facilities to distribute COVID-19 vaccinations to individuals 16 and over, one major issue of concern dangles on the minds of parents everywhere. When will children under the age of 16 be able to receive a vaccine? For starters, kids have a low risk for contracting the virus, but some are not so fortunate. They could have heart conditions, asthma, obesity, or metabolic conditions thus increasing their risk. Thankfully, parents’ concerns and worries won’t last forever as there is hope soon to come on the horizon.
Do kids need the vaccine?
According to James H. Conway, a pediatrician and associate director for health sciences at the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, mentioned that if adults are the only ones getting vaccinated, “the disease, even if our kids don’t get super sick with it, is going to be there and continue to circulate routinely.” Therefore, it is highly recommended for children to get vaccinated once vaccines become available in order for the pandemic to drastically decrease in the years to come.
Can children spread the virus?
Studies show, from Harvard Health Publishing, that the coronavirus is not spread from children, but once the child becomes infected, then they can spread the virus onto unvaccinated adults. This is why it is highly encouraged that kids continue to follow the COVID-19 rules of wearing a mask, washing their hands, and social distancing while in public places.
When will children get vaccinated?
Before the vaccines can be available for younger children, clinical trials have to be done. So far, Pfizer and Moderna have started testing kids aged six months to 11 years of age with Johnson & Johnson conducting trials as well. Pfizer has reported results from testing children aged 12 to 15 that their vaccine is effectively protecting against the virus, while results are still coming in for Moderna’s trials on children ages 12 to 17.
Once the information is available, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) will make vaccine recommendations for adolescents and children under 16. Conway anticipates the vaccines to become available for 12 to 16-year-olds by this summer, five to 11-year-olds by early 2022, and for babies and toddlers soon after.
In the meantime, make sure your kids get the other vaccinations against influenza, measles, whooping cough, and any other that is recommended by a pediatrician. For more information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for children under 16, or to see if your child is up-to-date on current immunizations, contact us today!