ROCHESTER, Minn. - Pediatric doctors are answering questions some parents have about their children getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people over the age of 16 and the Moderna vaccine is approved for people over the age of 18. The reason kids any younger than that aren't eligible to receive the vaccine yet, is a simple one. Both of these companies haven't been able to complete clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines in that age group and until a vaccine is proven to be safe and effective for them, it won't be approved.
Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse at Mayo Clinic explained with trials well underway for adults, the next step is testing it in more vulnerable populations, like children and pregnant women. "In this situation, given the pandemic and the emergency nature, they are quite rapidly including other groups in the trials." she said. "So that we can get the vaccine out to as many people as possible to help end the pandemic."
Based on the ages currently enrolled in the trials, it's possible the approval for use in children older than 12 will come first before the approval for younger kids. "We have no real reason to think that the results will be significantly different than what we have seen in adults," explained Dr. Rajapakse. "But obviously, children are a unique population. So that's why we need to ensure that they're studied in pediatric age group. We need to demonstrate and prove that they are in fact safe and effective."
Until that happens, it's important adults get vaccinated when they're able to, especially if they're around children.