New cases of coronavirus in children recently hit an all-time high, but a vaccine for those under 12 could be available by the end of the year, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday.
“We want to go fast, we plan to go fast, but we also want to have the efficacy data and the safety data that the [Food and Drug Administration] will require… to make sure it’s the right thing for the kids, ”Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in an interview with NBC’s“ Today ”.
A similar timeline for 5-11 year olds has been suggested by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. Surgeon General and FDA Chief Vaccine Officer. The former FDA chief, who now sits on Pfizer’s board of directors, also said on Sunday that Pfizer’s vaccine could be approved for children by the end of October.
As Walensky said on Monday, vaccine makers must first submit their data to the FDA for emergency use authorization. It will then likely take a few weeks, but not months, for the FDA to determine whether the injections are safe for children, the agency’s chief vaccine officer, Dr Peter Marks, told The Associated Press on Friday.
Pfizer said it plans to submit the results of its vaccine studies by the end of September, while fellow vaccine maker Moderna told investors it plans to submit its data by the end of September. the year.
Data shows that adults generally face a higher risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. But the delta variant has increased the rate of transmission of the virus, Walensky pointed out, and children are just as capable as adults of getting sick and spreading the virus.
“We are definitely seeing more disease,” she said on Monday. “This virus is an opportunist. It will go where people are not vaccinated. The best thing we can do for our children is surround them with people who are vaccinated when they become eligible to be vaccinated. “
About 252,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported in children in a single week earlier this month, according to data compiled by two health organizations. It marked the highest number of new pediatric cases of COVID-19 in a single week since the start of the pandemic and arrived as millions of children were returning to school.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona also spoke with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on Monday, stressing that children and teachers should get vaccinated as soon as they can.
“What we are seeing is that the COVID rates in schools are just mirrors of what is happening in the community. We need to do our part to reduce the spread in the community so that our schools can stay open, ”he said.
Cardona expressed support for school vaccination mandates, but stopped short of calling them.
“If we see vaccines work and they are our best tool, then yes they should,” he said, referring to the question of whether COVID-19 vaccines should be mandatory in schools.
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