FDA: COVID Vaccinations for Children Under 12 Years of Age Not Coming Soon Enough

Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute of Health, said Tuesday that it is unlikely children ages 5 to 11 will be eligible to receive the vaccine for coronavirus before late 2021. President Biden’s administration has frequently cited an earlier delivery date for the children’s vaccine. 

Both Pfizer and Moderna are currently studying the safety and efficacy of the shot in younger children and infants. Sometime in September Pfizer plans on presenting the results of trials currently underway to the Food & Drug Administration. After obtaining the data, Collins told NPR that it might take months before the FDA is able to grant emergency authorization for use of the Pfizer vaccine in children under 12.

The country’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has been much more optimistic in his assessment and believes FDA approval could come months earlier. If the approval process moves smoothly, Fauci hopes to see children inoculated before the holiday season.  

The FDA granted final approval to the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 years of age and older earlier this week. Emergency authorizations for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were granted between December 2020 and February 2021.  

Also earlier this week, NOLA-PS reported 453 confirmed COVID cases (0.89% of combined student and staff population) and 4657 students and staff (9.13%) in quarantine. Students make up almost 90% of the confirmed cases in Orleans Parish public schools. Statewide, students make up about 25% of cases, according to Dr. Jennifer Avegno.

Working in cooperation with the state health department, NOLA-PS is beginning a new drive to test unvaccinated students and staff. Participants will be paid $25 for the first COVID test and $10 weekly thereafter. NOLA-PS Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis expects state officials to add the FDA-approved Pfizer COVID vaccine to a list of school requirements. 

Meanwhile, one Jefferson Parish public school has turned temporarily to virtual learning because of the high number students and staff who have been diagnosed with COVID or are under quarantine. Jefferson Parish is also calling for a day of prayer after the parish’s death count reached 1000.

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