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Not content with 5 years and up, Fauci says babies, toddlers next with approval expected by early 2022

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Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and face of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci came out Thursday with news that babies and toddlers from six months to five-years-old could potentially be able to receive the vaccine next spring.

“Hopefully within a reasonably short period of time, likely the beginning of next year in 2022, in the first quarter of 2022, it will be available to them,” Fauci told Insider in an interview, noting that he “can’t guarantee it.”

The NIAID director did say “you’ve got to do the clinical trial” before any decisions are made.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “compared with adults, children and adolescents who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 are more commonly asymptomatic (never develop symptoms) or have mild, non-specific symptoms (e.g. headache, sore throat).”

“Similar to adults with SARS-CoV-2 infections, children and adolescents can spread SARS-CoV-2 to others when they do not have symptoms or have mild, non-specific symptoms and thus might not know that they are infected and infectious. Children are less likely to develop severe illness or die from COVID-19,” the CDC stated.

That’s not to say that children in the U.S. haven’t died from the virus. While the overall risk of death from the virus remains low for children, data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that 700 children under the age of 18 have died from the virus and more than 200 of them were under four years old.

Pfizer-BioNTech are expected to release the results of their clinical trial for children ages two to five years and six months to two years as early as the end of 2021.

Pfizer’s clinical trials for children five to eleven years old recorded to no deaths as a result of the COVID-19 vaccine. Their trial among 12-25-year-olds also reported no deaths.

The company could file for approval for its vaccine in children and babies as early as the end of this month,  ABC Tampa reported.

As for whether or not it the vaccine will be approved, that depends on the findings from the trial according to experts.

“The Food and Drug Administration and CDC won’t approve the vaccine until there’s some data showing safety and efficacy. There’s every reason to think that it will be safe, and it will be efficacious. But the agencies need to be cautious, justifiably so, and so they’re not going to give the approval until they have the data,” Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and immunologist at Boston College, told CNN Health.

If vaccine trials prove ‘the jab’ to be safe and effective in children, Pfizer will likely be the first to receive approvals. Moderna is currently conducting studies in young children as well, but is not as far along. Johnson & Johnson is still testing in adolescents.

“We don’t have enough data now to present it for a regulatory approach, but right now, the data are being collected and analyzed. So we will be able to answer the question, I believe, within a reasonable period of time regarding the safety and the immunogenicity among those lower than 5 years old,” Fauci told CNN in November.

Convincing parents to subject their babies and infants to the vaccine may prove to be the biggest hurdle. Especially because the science points to a relatively mild experience of the virus for children who are exposed.

White House data as of Wednesday showed that just 10 percent of children ages 5-11 have received their first dose of the Pfizer pediatric shot.

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