Countless parents and caregivers are sharing sighs of relief now that their children over 5 years old can receive Covid-19 vaccinations. The news of the vaccine’s approval and availability offers even more protection for families against this life-threatening virus. But, inevitably, it’s also prompted more questions about when children under 5 may get vaccinated. And the short answer is: soon. Trials and testing are currently underway, and signs are pointing to fruitful updates coming in early 2022.
What Do We Know About Covid-19 Vaccines For Children Under 5 So Far?
On March 23, 2022, Moderna — the company already responsible for a version of the Covid-19 vaccine available to those over the age of 12 — reported that they planned on filing a request to the FDA soon for authorization on a two-dose vaccine for children under the age of 6. This vaccine will make up 25% of what adults received from their own Moderna vaccines, but the company claims this dosage plan “showed a robust neutralizing antibody response” similar to how the vaccine reacted in adults.
Pfizer, the company behind the development of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, has made strides in the development of vaccines and booster doses for adults and teens to combat the coronavirus. On Feb 1, 2022, the company asked the FDA to approve an Emergency Use Authorization for the Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years. The FDA was slated to have a meeting on Feb. 15, but as of Feb. 11, Pfizer has now pulled that application out of consideration, hoping to have more data available on their three-shot approach to kids under 5 as opposed to the two-shot approach that was currently submitted. It’s looking like it may be several months before there is more data or information on the vaccines for kids under 5, and many experts say this is best, as they don’t believe there was sufficient data for approval in early February.
It’s been reported that trial studies surrounding two-dose vaccinations were not proving to be as potentially effective as larger doses given in older people. Moving forward, studies will involve research into a third dose within this age group. (As of now, receiving the Pfizer vaccine requires two initial doses or shots, outside of later boosters that are available). These are efforts to ensure not only safety, but efficacy. When the new EUA was filed, Pfizer was hoping to get the two-dosage regimen approved, giving them time to then file for a third dose as well, having children under the age of 5 at least halfway protected.
When Will There Be Potential Approval Of A Covid-19 Vaccine For Kids Under 5?
In their update back in December, Pfizer shared: “If the three-dose study is successful, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to submit data to regulators to support an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for children 6 months to under 5 years of age in the first half of 2022.” With Pfizer pulling their EUA application out from the FDA now in February, there’s hope that more data could have shots approved by the spring.
While many caregivers might be disappointed in these projected dates, remember that several factors come into play when developing vaccines for young children. Not the least of which is the fact that babies and toddlers are different than adults in many ways, like in their growth and development rates. The shot dosage, for example, might be different for the under-5 kids than for adults, as wound up being the case with Covid-19 vaccines developed for kids ages 5 to 11.
But while you await news on this front, it’s key to consider vaccinations and boosters for all of those family members who are currently eligible, especially in light of fast-spreading variants like Delta and Omicron. To learn where you can get vaccinated and potentially receive a booster, go to https://www.vaccines.gov/.
For more information and updates on the coronavirus, go to https://www.romper.com/coronavirus.
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