COVID vaccines for children need to be vetted more carefully and may not be ready for a full year

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Credit: Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Thanks to the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed and other programs, a number of Covid-19 vaccines for adults are already in advanced clinical trials. But no trials have yet begun in the United States to determine whether these vaccines are safe and effective for children.

“Right now I’m pretty worried that we won’t have a vaccine available for kids by the start of next school year,” said Dr. Evan Anderson, a pediatrician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and a professor at the Emory University School of Medicine.

On [September 18], Dr. Anderson and his colleagues published a commentary in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in which they called for vaccine makers to get their act together. They entitled it, “Warp Speed for Covid-19 Vaccines: Why are Children Stuck in Neutral?”

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Dr. Anderson said that vaccine makers could have started running trials for children over the summer, as soon as they had gotten good Phase 2 results from adults. But that did not happen. And with autumn around the corner, that still hasn’t happened.

Whenever these trials do start, it could take upward of a year to get vaccines for Covid-19 ready for children. Vaccine makers will need to write protocols and get them approved by the F.D.A. They’ll need to recruit volunteers — a process that is more time consuming for pediatric vaccines since parents must give informed consent.

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