We have been able to receive vaccinations for COVID-19 for nearly a year now. The United States relies on Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to protect their citizens. There are also other vaccines around the world, such as AstraZeneca, that are being used to fight the pandemic.
Currently in the United States, vaccines are available for individuals 12 years of age and older. However, that could change as early as next month.
As early as the end of October, the Pfizer shot could be approved for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Some countries are already giving vaccines to their younger populations, with Cuba just beginning to administer them to children as young as 2, but this is a major milestone for the United States.
This decision is based on two months of rigorous research, as well as pressure nationwide to give vaccines to younger children in the wake of the Delta variant.
While the vaccines were only approved for those 12 and older at the end of May, it was July when the Delta variant began hitting the country hard, resulting in breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated individuals being infected and younger, unvaccinated children becoming sick.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said that Moderna will likely take about three weeks longer than Pfizer to collect and analyze its data on children aged 5-11. He estimated that a decision on Moderna could come around November.
Moderna said it has fully enrolled participants in a trial testing its shot in children between six and 11 years and that it was still conducting dose selection studies for younger age groups.
BioNTech, the German company that worked alongside Pfizer to develop the vaccine, stated that it also expects to request authorization globally for the COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as five over the next few weeks.
For children between the ages of six months and two years, Pfizer has said it could have safety and immunogenicity data as early as October or November.
President Joe Biden and Fauci have both stated that they hope vaccines can be administered for individuals as young as six months by the end of the calendar year.
Due to vaccine hesitancy, over 99% of COVID deaths in the United States are from unvaccinated individuals, but hopefully the development of the vaccine for younger children can be the next step in ensuring safety for all.