Vaccine for younger children could be ready by next year

As COVID-19 cases spike across Florida and schools open, cases are inevitably popping up in the classroom.

While children age 12 and up are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, parents of kids younger than 12 are left hoping their children simply don’t get sick.

Janos Clark is patiently waiting for the go-ahead to be able to vaccinate his son.

His son is no longer in daycare after another child tested positive for COVID-19.

“That obviously gave us a really good scare,” Clark said.

Clark now eagerly awaits the chance to get his 4-year-old son vaccinated.

“As soon as the vaccine does become available, we absolutely plan on vaccinating, not only so he can get back in school but also to protect his health and safety,” Clark said.

But National Institute of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said Clark will have to wait.

“It’s gonna be a little while yet the FDA really wanted to see a lot of data because children are not just microscopic adults, they have different metabolism,” Collins said. “And so, what’s the right dose to give to a child.”

Collins said data on children ages 5 to 12 will be submitted to the Federal Drug Administration in September.

“It’s going to be a few more months before we get there. And for kids under five, it will probably not be until the beginning of next year,” Collins said.

Once it is available, the doctor hopes everyone takes advantage.

“We now have 1,500 children in the hospital with COVID. Right now, over the course of this pandemic, more than 400 children have died,” Collins said.

Meanwhile, Clark is aware of the danger. He hopes protection for his son comes soon.

“You’re hearing about even pediatric wards filling up with COVID patients,” Clark said. “You know, that’s not something you want to hear.”

Collins wants to remind everyone that younger people are not invincible.

The average person in the hospital with COVID-19 is now 40 years old.

Reporter:Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Melissa Montoya
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