The country is ramping up its vaccination efforts, trying to cover the most vulnerable Americans first, like senior citizens. But what about children and teenagers? That’s coming, says Dr. Anthony Fauci.
"If you project realistically, when we will 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."
Teens may be a little sooner.
“For the high school kids, it looks like maybe sometime this fall. Not sure if the first day that school opens, but pretty close to that.”
It’s estimated about 3 million young people under the age of 19 have contracted COVID over the past year or so — about 13 percent of the total. The Academy of Pediatrics says severe illness is rare.
Pfizer and Moderna are testing their vaccines on older kids right now. And in Nashville, Dr. Buddy Creech tells Newsy’s sister station Newschannel 5 that Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital plans to start pediatric COVID vaccine trials in March.
"When it comes to vaccines, children are not merely little adults. We really want to take our time to make sure that we're giving them the exact amount of vaccine that we need to."
Creech says while children aren’t the most vulnerable population for COVID, they are a key to getting control of the spread of the pandemic.
"As we can see with out schools and we see with grandparents and grandchildren having to maintain some distance, we can see a path forward where vaccinating children, even though they haven't felt the brunt of this pandemic, could be very effective to moving us to a point where life goes back to normal."