A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official said on Thursday that emergency authorization for the coronavirus vaccines to be used on children under 12 years old could come as early as midwinter.
The decision could help bring relief to many families who are struggling to keep their children safe from the health crisis. The FDA is looking to quickly get full approval for the age group to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 Vaccines for Children
However, many families are still hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccines, with the majority of which argued that the current treatments are only approved to be administered under emergency use authorization, the official said. The full approval of the vaccines could help alleviate the concerns of many families nationwide.
In the United States, only residents aged 12 and older have been allowed to receive vaccinations against the coronavirus infection and no brand has been given full approval yet. In March, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech conducted trials for their COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 years old. The companies are expected to release results in the fall, which would then prompt the FDA to review the vaccines' applications for full approval, NBC News reported.
United States President Joe Biden and his administration have continued to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated against the coronavirus infection. On Thursday, Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, personally urged Americans to get inoculated, revealing that 10 of his family members have lost their lives to the disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data that showed about 65% of Americans aged 12 and up have been at least partially vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. It also showed that 56% of the same age group have been fully vaccinated. In the age group of 18 years and up, nearly 68% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and about 59% are fully vaccinated, The Hill reported.
Full Approval of the Treatments
While children are less likely to develop severe symptoms from the COVID-19 virus, the possibility is still there. Across the country, health care workers have observed children of all ages become infected and end up admitted to the ICU. They recalled some cases where young kids have died from the disease and the complications it caused.
Some infections in young children have also caused multisystem inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C several weeks or months after the first signs of symptoms. The issue has caused families to worry about long-term health issues of the coronavirus disease.
Many experts agree with the notion that schools should not allow children to participate in in-person learning until all school-aged children have been fully vaccinated. They noted that it was crucial to reduce local transmission between children to a minimum.
Health experts recommend continued mask mandates and social distancing to reduce the chances of being infected or spreading the infection to other people.
Dr. Teresa Murray Amato, chair of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Hospital, has urged parents to discuss with the pediatricians regarding their child receiving the coronavirus vaccine. She noted that the decision would help in reducing the number of young children suffering from the infection, Healthline reported.