Pediatrician high-fiving a childPhoto: Fizkes (Shutterstock)

Of the US-approved COVID-19 vaccines, one (Pfizer) is available for people aged 16+ and the other two (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are available for people aged 18+. But all three companies are testing the vaccine in younger children, and if all goes well, vaccines for younger teenagers may be available by fall this year.

The process is slow as companies use data from each age group to plan the next age group study. Instead of assuming that an adult vaccine is safe for babies, companies are working their way down: a study in 12-15 year olds, for example one in 5-11 year olds, then at 2 years old and above, then Baby. (This is an example. The exact breakdown of age groups varies from company to company.)

Children are at lower risk of complications from COVID than adults, which is why they did not participate in studies at all. It is easy for the benefits of a vaccine to outweigh its risks in a high-risk group, less so for a population group who rarely becomes very ill with the virus.

But children get the virus and some who have developed a virus severe syndrome known as MIS-C. You may also be able to pass it on to others without experiencing symptoms yourself. Hence, immunizing children will likely be key to creating herd immunity that protects vulnerable people who cannot get the shot.

Investigators will look out for security issues as the trials progress. You can also test different doses in case the most suitable amount of vaccine for children is different from that for adults.

G / O Media can receive a commission

The trials

Moderna recently announced that they started giving children the vaccine in their KidCOVE study. The participants are between 6 months and 12 years old.

The president of the company too said on the Today Show that their TeenCOVE study (ages 12-17) has completed enrollment and that the results should be in this summer. If all goes well, the company could apply for an emergency permit shortly thereafter (the same type of permit as the existing adult COVID-19), and teens could potentially be vaccinated before school this fall.

Pfizer announced in January that the study is fully enrolled for children 12 years and older. Experiments for younger age groups are also in progress. One of the investigators in the process USA Today said They also hope that their vaccine will be available for children over the age of 12 by the beginning of the 2021/22 school year.

Johnson & Johnson also has said that they have experiments for children from the age of 12 and for children from “birth to [under] 18. ”This information was included in the material the company provided to the FDA in approving its adult vaccine New York Times reported.

The availability of the vaccine to children depends on how the studies go. Therefore, it is too early to predict exactly what will happen. The test results are blind even to the investigators during the running time, so we don’t even have preliminary data. Even so, vaccines that are safe and effective in adults are often safe and effective in children too, so there is reason for hope.