When are children in the US vaccinated? Five questions parents ask Coronavirus

The first U.S. Covid-19 vaccine is expected in clinics in mid-December, and states are drawing up plans for who should get the vaccine first.

But one important group is absent: children.

While two vaccines are expected to be cleared soon for adult use in the U.S., trials are now starting only with children – and only with teens. There are still many unknowns.

As an pharmacist and professor of infectious disease who helps manage hospitalized patients with Covid-19, I often hear questions about vaccines. Here’s what we know and don’t know in response to some common questions about being vaccinated against Covid-19.

1. When will my child be vaccinated?

At present, vaccines do not appear to be ready for children before the start of the next school year in August.

Adult trials of both major vaccines have shown promising results. On Dec. 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee recommended that the FDA approve the Pfizer vaccine for use in people age 16 and older, despite concerns about the introduction of age-appropriate drugs. 16 and 17 without further data. The British government is already vaccinating people 16 and older with it, and Canada has approved the vaccine for the same age range.

But clinical trials with children are just beginning.

Pfizer, working with BioNTech in Germany, extended the Covid-19 vaccine trial to children aged 12 and over in October only. Another major vaccine manufacturer, Moderna, announced on Dec. 2 that it planned to begin Covid-19 vaccine testing in children aged 12-17 soon.

The effectiveness and safety of the vaccine needs to be evaluated for all age groups, and trials have begun for infants, toddlers or children in the US.

Clinical trials are designed to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective. It usually takes 10 to 15 years from the start of development to be vaccinated, but the Covid-19 vaccines are being developed more quickly in response to the pandemic.

2. Will children need more pictures than adults?

The schedule of Covid-19 vaccine doses is unlikely to be different for children, but that may change as trials progress.

The Pfizer vaccine is being tested in adolescents with a two-dose series, three weeks apart, just as in adults. Moderna also plans to use his adult record – two doses four weeks apart – in an upcoming trial with 3,000 teenagers.

The second dose serves as a “boost bullet,” since the first dose alone does not provide the best protection. This is consistent with several other vaccines, including hepatitis B, measles, mumps and rubella.

Currently, only those two doses are planned, but that is subject to change. It is unclear how long the immune response from these Covid-19 vaccines will last or whether more doses will be needed in the future. The flu vaccine, for example, needs a new dose every year because the virus changes. Recent promising data from Moderna altering immunity is maintained for at least three months after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

3. Are the vaccines safe for children?

To date, no major safety concerns have been identified with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, but testing is still at an early stage for children. Several other vaccines are being developed around the world, and a few drug dealers have begun trials with younger children in other countries.

Another concern has been the temporary side effects.

In the UK, health officials warned on 9 December that anyone with a history of anaphylaxis should not be vaccinated after two adults had a severe reaction.

Children usually have stronger immune systems than adults, and may have stronger temporary reactions to the vaccine. This may mean more pain and swelling at the injection site for a few days and possibly fever.

These side effects are common with vaccines. They are evidence that the immune system is doing what it should be doing, but they can be scary.

It is important to understand both the safety of the vaccine and the potential for temporary side effects, as adults and children need both doses for the vaccine to provide the best protection.

4. Is adult vaccination enough?

Just an adult vaccine would not be enough to end the pandemic. Children can still become infected, pass on the virus and develop complications. If a vaccine is not available, children are likely to serve as a reservoir of the virus, making it more difficult to eradicate the pandemic.

The two main vaccines have reported promising results in adults so far: The efficacy rate is around 94% for Moderna vaccine and 95% for Pfizer. This means that, under optimal conditions, around 95% of adults receiving the vaccine have been protected. That is higher than expected.

It remains to be seen whether the same is true for children.

Children usually have milder Covid-19 symptoms than adults, but they can still pass the virus on to others.

Getting the vaccine also has other benefits, including a safer return to school and activities.

5. Do we need to continue with masks and social pace?

In this way, it will be important to follow normal protective measures, including social distance, wearing a face mask, washing hands and following other instructions from the Centers for Control and Prevention Disease.

While it is hoped that vaccination will allow people to return to a more “normal” lifestyle, these safeguards will still be needed, even after they have been vaccinated, to know more about the level of protection from the vaccine. .

Many questions remain unanswered. As time goes on, we will have more responses.

  • Wesley Kufel is a clinical assistant professor in pharmacy practice at Binghamton University, SUNY

  • This article is republished from The Conversation, a non-profit news organization dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts