Adult dosage of vaccine for kids under age 12? ‘Not a good idea,’ say pediatricians

The combination of children being back in the classroom — and the delta variant affecting children — has some parents so concerned that they’re reportedly asking doctors to make exceptions and vaccinate their children who are under the age of 12. Also, other parents are reportedly telling vaccinating clinicians their child is 12 when the child is not.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics both agree giving an adult dose of COVID-19 vaccine to children under 12 right now is not a good idea. They released a statement: “The dose may be very different for younger ages. The AAP recommends against giving the vaccine to any child under 12 years of age, until authorized by the FDA.”

“I want the vaccine for kids, too,” said Dr. Beth Ebel, professor of pediatrics with the University of Washington Medical Center, who urged vaccine patience for anxious parents. “As a pediatrician, I’m pushing for this myself, but I also want it to be safe.”

The Tacoma Pierce County vaccine data dashboard shows 48 children ages 0 to 11 have received the vaccine, which is a small number, but it may indicate some doctors may be prescribing the vaccine to younger children in rare cases.

“I really think it’s a matter of getting by for a few months here while we make sure we have the safe dose of the antigen for the vaccine,” said Ebel. “It’s the safest thing for kids, and then (once the vaccine is authorized for younger children) let’s just go all in.”

Ebel said clinical trials will wrap up soon, and experts will determine how much vaccine, if any, is safe for children.

“I’m hoping this will happen this fall. Hopefully, around Thanksgiving time,” she said. “We need that. We should push for that. We should advocate for it. We need to involve children because they need to be protected too.”

And she has a question for parents tempted to lie about their children’s age:

“Am I going to be the parent who in front of my kid is going to say something that’s not true about their age? Is that what I want to model? And the answer for me is no; it’s not worth it.”