While schools across the globe are reopening and the highly infectious omicron sneaks through communities, kids as young as 5 years can get their dose of protective shield against SARS Cov-2. But, when can kids of 6 months to 5 years get vaccinated for Covid-19?
In December, Pfizer-BioNTech announced a delay in the extended use of the covid-19 vaccination as a single 3-micrograms dose or one-tenth of the adult dose used for children below 5 years could not produce enough immune response. However, a second shot with a similar dose did generate potent immune responses in infants between 6 months to two years old – akin to the one seen in the 16-25 age group.
Pfizer-BioNTech is committed to careful selection of the right dosage to maximize the risk-benefit profile. It is currently working on the third dose study and immune responses for under 5 age-groups and is likely to submit data supporting an Emergency Use Authorization for children under 5 years by April to regulators, According to Jerica Pitts, a representative for Pfizer.
Moderna has initiated its trials for children under 5 with relatively higher doses of about one-fourth of the adult dose.
Dr. William Hartman, the principal investigator of one of the Moderna pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trials, expects the initial investigative reports soon and finds it reasonable to grant authorization for vaccinating children of 6 months to 5 years old by late March or early April. Another promising result added by Dr. Hartman was the safety and efficacy of the vaccination, as it carries a no-incidence of myocarditis -unlike mild symptoms observed in adolescents.
Johnson and Johnson are conducting its phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials for adolescents of 12-16 years. Though the J&J Covid-19 Vaccine trials for the young population are still underway, it is a much awaited single-shot vaccination.
In early November 2021, the CDC granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer’s vaccine for kids 5-11. This was the time when the American Academy of Pediatrics reported over 1 out of 10 children in the U.S. testing positive for COVID since the onset of pandemic -affecting nearly 7.9 million children.
However, L.A. Times vaccine tracker indicates that the vaccination for children above 5 years is slow progress; Only 28% of children have received at least one dose in California, and 75.4% of the eligible population have yet to receive the vaccines.
“Now that the Omicron wave is at a surge, we’ve seen that kids definitely do get COVID. And fortunately, most are OK,” said Dr. Leian Chen, the lead physician at UCLA Health Pediatrics in Marina del Rey. “But some do get severely ill. And others do have long COVID symptoms,” added Dr. Chen. The ten-fold increase in cases during the winter has created a mounting necessity for authorization of vaccines for the kids below five years and parents waiting to get their children the Covid-19 layer of protection.
This content has been reviewed by Srujana Mohanty who is working in scientific & medical writing and editing since 2018. She is also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing.