JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a matter of weeks, children between the ages of 5 and 11 could be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer is asking federal officials to greenlight its vaccine. The CDC is expected to take up the matter on Oct. 26.
Medical experts expect the CDC will fast-track approval and the Food and Drug Administration as well. There were reports earlier this week in the Washington Post that the rate of COVID-19 infections in children in August was higher than that among adults and seniors for the first time in the pandemic.
Dr. Mobeen Rathore, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, said that doesn’t surprise him.
“In Jacksonville itself, we had the worst month for children with the COVID infection, who were admitted. And also in the community when the schools opened without masks we had a big spike of infections in children,” Rathore said.
Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases among children, California became the first state to require vaccinations for children to attend public and private schools in person. Rathore thinks other states should and will follow suit.
“If you’re already requiring and serious about protecting our children from measles, mumps, rubella, polio and whooping cough, we need this vaccine to be part of the requirement for children to attend school,” Rathore said. “That’s the only way you get rid of pandemics and epidemics.”
And what about children under the age of 5? Pfizer expects to release clinical trial data on how well its COVID-19 vaccine works in 6-month to 5-year-old children as early as the end of October.