A coronavirus vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11 will “certainly” be available by this fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday, supporting similar estimated timelines provided by health officials in recent weeks.
“Sometime in the next few weeks, as we get into October, we’ll be able to see the vaccines for children get enough data to be presented for safety and immunogenicity,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week.”
Because Pfizer is slightly ahead of Moderna in terms of gathering data, there may be a difference in time frame by “a couple to a few weeks” between when the drugmakers will have vaccines authorized for emergency use, Fauci said.
Pfizer has said that it expects to submit vaccine study results by the end of September, while Moderna has told investors that its data will be available by the end of the year. It will then take a few weeks, not months, for data to be reviewed before a vaccine can be approved for use, the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine chief said earlier this month.
Fauci shared a similar, albeit more dubious timeline last month, saying, “There’s a reasonable chance” that children under the age of 12 will be eligible to be vaccinated by “mid-late fall and early winter.” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last week also said that a vaccine for children could be available by the end of the year.
Anticipation for a pediatric vaccine comes as COVID-19 cases among children continue to spike across the country.
A report released last week by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association found that the number of weekly coronavirus cases among children hit its second-highest record since the pandemic began. The highest record — 252,000 new cases — was tallied just the week before. That week’s case count was 30 times higher than what was recorded back in late June, when cases fell to 8,447.
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