Why is the COVID-19 vaccine still not approved for children under 12?

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EAST PEORIA (WEEK) — It was December 2021 when vaccines were first given to qualifying healthcare workers in Peoria. Since then, vaccine eligibility has expanded to children as young as 12, but what about younger children, why are they still not able to get a shot?

Those who work in a pediatric care say it boils down to timing and the number of children eligible for a vaccine study. Margaret Heger, infectious disease pharmacist with OSF Healthcare, said vaccine trials for adults began as early as March 2020. For young children, there was a bit of a wait.

“In March of 2021, almost a year later after the first doses of the vaccine went into an adult, we started testing it in children under the age of 12 all the way down to six months of age,” said Heger.

On top of that, at the start of the pandemic, there were not as many children as adults that had the disease.

“You have to have a certain number of kids be exposed and get COVID that have had the vaccine or the placebo to show is the vaccine truly effective for that age group,” said Dr. Aaron Traeger, a pediatrician with Carle Health.

Despite those delays, Heger said the approval is steadily moving along. Pfizer is closest to having their shot approved for young children.

“I think they’re planning on having data turned in towards the end of September, and vaccine available probably in mid-November, early December for pediatric patients,” she said.

But when that approval comes, will all ages be eligible? Traeger said the feds will likely prioritize kids who are most often in group meetings.

“Based on what we’re hearing is be prepared to vaccinate at least school-aged children coming up towards the end of the year, or have the vaccine available for those,” said Traeger.

The post Why is the COVID-19 vaccine still not approved for children under 12? appeared first on WEEK.

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