A COVID-19 Vaccine for Children Under the Age of 5? It May Be Available Soon

But it first needs a regulatory green light.
Ameya Paleja
A baby under five to be vaccinatedNikola Stojadinovic/ iStock

A COVID-19 vaccine for children under the age of five could be available in the U.S. as early as the end of this month, The Washington Post reported. According to the report, the two-dose regimen followed for other adults would also be used for children, once authorized.

As the number of cases due to the Omicron is way beyond its peak in the U.S. data, the focus is likely to shift back to strengthening immunities of individuals using booster vaccines. Pfizer has already begun vaccine trials specifically against the Omicron variant but while data on that will take time to arrive, authorities are keen to vaccinate the children under five years of age in the country and have urged the company to submit its data for necessary approvals.

According to the WP report, Pfizer and BioNTech have also been gathering data on whether a third dose provides better protection than the two-dose regimen. However, the data is expected to be available only in late March and authorities do not want to wait that long to make decisions on vaccinating children under five years of age. 

Sources told WP that authorities can begin analyzing that the company will submit for the age group of six months to five years for the two-dose regimen and if they are satisfied with the numbers, could approve the vaccination for the age group before the month could end. The decision on whether to make a third dose part of vaccination against COVID-19 could be made later when more data would be available. The plan to approach the regulatory agencies could be put into place as early as today, The New York Times confirmed.

The availability of the vaccine would be good news for many parents wanting to protect their children. In a report last week, NPR had documented the troubles of parents who could not vaccinate their children aged below five due to the eligibility criteria and are also ineligible to be tested using rapid antigen tests. 

It is also welcome news given that a bunch of European countries will soon lift their COVID-19 restrictions, even as the threat of new variants are emerging and circulating. 

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