The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said coronavirus vaccines may not initially be recommended for children when they become available.
Children, who rarely develop severe COVID-19 symptoms or require hospitalization for the disease, have not yet been tested for any experimental jab.
In the statement, posted on Wednesday, the CDC said that, up to this point, clinical trials have only included healthy, non-pregnant adults.
However, the federal agency noted the recommended groups could change in the future as clinical trials expand to recruit more people.
The CDC said most coronavirus vaccine trials have only included healthy, non-pregnant adults so far, but this could change as trials expand to include more people (file image)
‘In early clinical trials for various COVID-19 vaccines, only non-pregnant adults participated,’ the statement on the website reads.
‘However, clinical trials continue to expand those recruited to participate. The groups recommended to receive the vaccines could change in the future.’
Children are often the last group to be tested during clinical trials because they are not merely little adults.
Their bodies and immune systems behave differently, meaning they might have different treatment needs.
What’s more, children may need different doses or needle sizes depending on their height, weight and age – which is why most children are only vaccinated after safety has been well-document in the adult population.
On Tuesday, Pfizer Inc announced it will begin enrolling children, who are capable of passing on the virus to high-risk groups, as young as 12 in its large, late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trial.
A team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will begin vaccinating teenagers between ages 16 and 17 this week and will then focus on children from ages 12 to 15, Dr Robert Frenck, director of the Vaccine Research Center at the hospital, told CNN.
‘We really think a vaccine for adolescents and children is going to be critical for getting COVID under control,’ Frenck said.
‘I think one of the things that is important to remember is that although the death rate for children with COVID is lower than in older adults, it’s not zero. It is not a nonexistent infection in children.’
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has said a sub-group of patients in a large trial will test children between age five and 12.
Additionally, Moderna says it plans to start a pediatric trial for its experimental vaccine by the end of the year, pending approval.
The CDC also said on Wednesday that any coronavirus vaccine would, at first, be used under the US Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization.
Therefore, there could be a limited supply of vaccines before the end of 2020 but it will increase.
‘The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available,’ the agency wrote.
‘The plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers available so no one will have to travel far to be vaccinated, whether it’s at your doctor’s office, retail pharmacy, hospital, or federally qualified health center.’
Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, told CBS’s Norah O’Donnell that a vaccine will likely be available for most Americans ‘within the first quarter of 2021, by let’s say April of 2021.’