As of this writing, at least three popular COVID-19 vaccines are being administered to people who are over the age of 16. On the other hand, very little information is available so far on whether children are likely to get vaccinations any time soon.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one of the vaccine makers has asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include children under the age of 12, while clinical trials are expected to start for kids under the age of 6 months. This was happening even as current research has shown that the new vaccines have proven remarkably successful in preventing the virus from spreading in the majority of adults.
Currently, none of the drug makers has been authorized to administer their vaccines on younger teens and children until clinical trials are done and the vaccines are proven to be safe for children. This cautious approach makes sense as there is little data that show how children react to the vaccine. At the same time, it would be incorrect and unsafe to assume that they would have the very same reaction as that of adults. Hence, clinical trials ensure vaccines are safe and effective to use on children.
It is hard to give an exact timeline as to when a vaccine for children is likely to be available. But the AAP is projecting that, based on the current pace of the research, we could have a vaccine for the children by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. Around the same period, the AAP expects at least a small percentage of children would have been vaccinated to be protected against the virus before they can enter school.
Ideally, children and teens would need to be vaccinated before going back to school. This is why we must know as soon as possible that they can be vaccinated safely and protected effectively. And once the vaccines have been approved and made available, it will be up to the respective states to determine which vaccine they would want school-going children to have.
Considering the current situation, a vaccine is the only way out of the COVID-19 gridlock, and we could dig ourselves out of the mess by the tail end of 2022 after every person in the country has been administered the vaccine shot.