School children will not get a COVID vaccine in time for the next school year, experts believe

Credit: AAMC
Credit: AAMC

Children’s immune responses are different from that of adults, so there is a consensus that pediatric [COVID vaccine] trials are critical for testing the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity (or effective immune response) of vaccines on kids. But some experts have said testing on children should have begun sooner, especially after the successful adult trials.

“To be completely frank, many of us are disappointed with this timeline,” said Andrew T. Pavia, the chief of the pediatric infectious diseases division at the University of Utah. “We think that there was enough safety data emerging and early efficacy data a month or six weeks ago that the adolescents could have been added earlier.”

Several experts have expressed hopes that a vaccine could be available for children before the start of the new school year, putting an end to the disruptions in learning. One is Evan Anderson, a pediatrician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, who co-wrote an article published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in September that pushed for pediatric trials to begin immediately.

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“The window is closing on any chance of getting an approved vaccine for children before next school year, and it realistically may have already closed,” he told The Washington Post.

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