PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When a coronavirus vaccine becomes available, children won’t be the first in line.
“It’s not surprising at all,” says Allegheny Health Network Pediatric Alliance pediatrician Dr. Joe Aracri. “Kids are the least likely population to be severely affected by COVID. You try to vaccinate the most likely to be infected or the most vulnerable first.”
The CDC says early clinical trials have only included non-pregnant adults.
“In an urgency to get the vaccine available to the most vulnerable population, you study that population to make sure it’s safe in them,” Dr. Aracri said.
Any forthcoming vaccine would be given under the FDA’s emergency use authorization, at least in the beginning, and the supply would likely be limited. Front line health care workers and first responders will be at the head of the line.
Children would be one of the lower priority groups.
“We know the risk to children is very low, so they can wait to be vaccinated,” Dr. Aracri says. “Their vaccinations will probably be directed to more of decreasing spread with public health than actually protecting the children.”
As for immunizing his own patients, Dr. Aracri wants more data.
“When it comes out and has been fully vetted in children and thoroughly studied and found to be safe, of course. As a pediatrician, we always recommend vaccination to any illness. Now that we’ll be able to roll out further studies, they’ll be able to bring the ages down to younger children.”
Drug company Pfizer is enrolling kids as young as 12 in its vaccine trials. Drug company AstraZeneca is enrolling children ages 5 to 12 in its vaccine trials.