While there have been many reports saying that a vaccine could be rolled out in the next couple of months—either the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021—there is a huge catch moms and dads need to know about.
For many parents desperate to get back to the pre-pandemic world (the one with regular school days, play dates, and no masks) the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine represents a huge step toward regaining some normalcy.
But while there have been many reports saying that a vaccine could be rolled out in the next couple of months—either the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021—there is a huge catch moms and dads need to know about: a vaccine for kids may not come along for another year or so.
The race to develop a vaccine began just weeks after the virus was identified, and thousands of volunteers have signed up for ongoing clinical trials. Trials are crucial to making sure that new vaccines are both safe and effective, but as Dr. Evan Anderson of the Emory University School of Medicine tells the New York Times, only adults are involved right now.
Anderson was the lead author of a report released in mid-September, which explains the dangers a delay in developing a Covid-19 vaccine for kids could bring. "The current default position, waiting until data from adult efficacy studies are available, will unduly delay Phase II clinical trials of leading COVID-19 vaccines in children resulting in additional pediatric hospitalizations and deaths." He's pushing for pharmaceutical companies to expand trials to include children as soon as possible, to ensure their safety and to help bring back normalcy to kid's lives.
Anderson told the Times that as things stand now, he's worried a vaccine for kids won't even by ready by the fall of 2021—meaning American families could potentially be looking at another chaotic school year.
Anderson's team fears the impact that will have on kids' development. "Delaying Phase II vaccine clinical trials in children will delay our recovery from COVID-19 and unnecessarily prolong its impact upon children's education, health and emotional well-being, and equitable access to opportunities for development and social success," the report said.
While it's generally acknowledged that children don't face as a high a risk from COVID-19 as adults, Anderson's team believes that as long as kids lack the protection of a vaccine, they'll continue to get and spread the virus—keeping the country from truly putting the pandemic behind it. And until that vaccine is ready, however long it may take, doctors want parents to focus on the flu shot.
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