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Health officials predict when children will have access to COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 9:52 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Around 10% of people across the state of Alabama are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but that doesn’t include any children or teenagers.

Health officials say vaccinating the younger population will be crucial in getting life back to normal.

Infectious disease expert at Children’s of Alabama, Dr. David Kimberlin, said Moderna and Pfizer vaccine trials for children and teenagers are going on now. He predicts those findings and results may come out by end of spring.

Kimberlin said the Johnson & Johnson children vaccine trials just started, so those results will lag behind.

He said the trials will only use around 2,000 child participants, instead of the 30,000+ for adult trials.

“The pediatric and adolescent studies are going to enroll in the range of two or three thousand children,” Kimberlin said. “What we can do is we can look at the immune response that the vaccine causes in a fewer number of adolescents and younger children and we can compare that to how the response was in an adult. Since we know there is protection from the disease in the adult, if we see similar amounts of protection, immune protection in the child, we can infer that it also protects against the disease.”

Kimberlin said the FDA will likely issue authorization by age groups, with infants being last.

“For younger children, it is going to take a longer period of time, but I think over the course of the summer, we very well might have an authorization for use at least in teenagers,” Kimberlin said.

Dr. Kimberlin said he predicts it will be fall before there is an FDA authorization for pre-adolescent children to get the vaccine.

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