COVID-19 Vaccines to Be Studied in Children

Pfizer and Moderna plan to expand mRNA vaccine studies to kids ages 5 to 11

(RxWiki News) Wondering if it's safe to let your child get a COVID-19 vaccination? We may soon have an answer.

That's because Pfizer and Moderna are planning to include children in their studies of the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Both companies make a two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine that has proven effective in adults.

Many teachers and parents have been eager to find out whether the vaccines are safe to use in children. Federal health officials urged Pfizer and Moderna to include children between the ages of 5 and 11 in their clinical trials.

Both COVID-19 vaccines are currently approved — via emergency use authorization — for adults. The Pfizer vaccine is actually approved for use in anyone who is 12 years old or older.

The idea to include younger children in vaccine studies is driven by a desire to detect any potential side effects of the vaccines. For example, in some people younger than age 30, the vaccine has caused extremely rare heart inflammation problems, reported The New York Times.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked both vaccine makers to include 3,000 children between the ages of 5 and 11 in their studies to detect these problems, according to The New York Times. That number is reportedly twice the original number of younger children intended to be included in the studies.

Pfizer, which appears to be on a faster timeline than Moderna, has said that it expects to have results from this research in September. Once the results are in, FDA officials will need at least a few weeks to review them before making any public statements.

While the focus of COVID-19 prevention has been on older people because they face high risks from COVID-19 infection, the pandemic has also affected children and teens. According to The New York Times, more than 4 million kids and adolescents in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent serious disease and death from COVID-19. Health officials urge anyone who is in an approved age range and health status to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

If you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 vaccines, speak with your doctor or community pharmacist.

Review Date: 
August 6, 2021