Vaccines for young kids may be available by summer

WASHINGTON — Children under five are the only group that isn’t eligible for a COVID-10 vaccine and now parents may have to wait until later this summer before their youngest kids can get the shot.

Initially, there were predictions that vaccines would be available for them at the beginning of this year but medical experts say part of the delay is waiting on more data.

Officials say Moderna has shared some data on two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for younger children.

Pfizer is still working on a three-dose series for younger kids and reviewing antibody levels but this data isn’t available yet.

“Even though some of the groups, the younger groups did have better antibody levels, the older children within this youngest age group did not,” said Dr. Sandy Arnold, the division chief of infectious diseases at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

In a recent interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the FDA will consider emergency use authorization for both vaccines at the same time, instead of separately.

Dr. Arnold said while some young children have gotten very sick from COVID-19, a majority of them have had mild to no symptoms.

“I think it’s really important that people be careful, and that they protect their children to the degree that they feel is necessary,” said Dr. Arnold. “But they also shouldn’t walk around in total fear all the time thinking that something terrible is going to happen to their children.”

The CDC says more than nine million children from ages five to 11 have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.