Americans who are older than twelve years can get a vaccine for Covid-19. However, younger children are still waiting. Not only America, but the entire world is reeling under the pressure. With schools closed for more than a year, parents are having a harrowing time home schooling younger kid.
Why A Covid-19 Vaccine Isn’t Available For Kids Yet?
Students who are in higher classes got a chance to attend school for a short time. However, rising cases and a second wave shut down all hope.
Future Of Vaccination Drives For Children
Many schools in the U.S. are all set to open for the fall session. Thus, pharma giants like Pfizer and Moderna are still conducting research on the vaccines for children below 12 years. Even if the vaccines are safe, the dose may not have been ascertained yet. In recent times, there has been a surge in cases affecting children. Parents are very inquisitive about the timeline. However, vaccinating young ones is more challenging than vaccinating adults. So, it could be held up for a few months more. One of the doctors conducting research on Pfizer at Duke University, says that it can be only done after due consideration.
There is some hope for parents of younger children. Pfizer is enrolling children in three age groups – 6 months to 2 years, 2-5 years, and 5-11 years for study. The data from the 5-11 age group could arrive sometime in September. As per recent reports, the pharma giant could ask the US regulatory authorities to allow emergency vaccination drives in the same month. The data for the next age group 2-5 years, would arrive after that. And, the most vulnerable lot would follow after that.
However, emergency use permission could take several weeks or even months. So, it seems that the vaccination drive for children younger than 12 years will only start next year. Moderna is also enrolling young children for its study. The age group is 6months-11 years. Dr. Buddy Creech, a pediatric infectious disease specialist who is investigating the feasibility of the Moderna vaccine says, that everybody has to be patient.
Why Children Are Being Left Out Remains To Be Answered
Some children today, are as good as adults. Apart from parents working from home, children are also silent sufferers. They are not being allowed to go to school or play. Stranded at home, many children are also developing psychological diseases. As per pharma companies and pediatricians, children require a different dosage. This can be attributed to the fact that their immune system works differently. Moreover, each child at each stage of development has different requirements. Therefore, it is very unpredictable to ascertain the number of doses that might be required.
If children do get a good immune response, there could be other side effects. Fever, rashes, fatigue, and irritability could mar the chances of a normal livelihood. If an adult gets a shot, and has to stay in bed for a week, he may not be fussy. However, a child’s reaction is totally unpredictable. Probably, these may be the reasons why pharmaceutical companies are delaying the process.
There are many other reasons, why companies are going slow. The companies want to ensure, that the vaccine should not make children sick. Going back to the 1960s, a vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus infection was administered to children. Apart from providing immunity, it caused a certain immune enhancement phenomenon that made children sicker. Moreover, no one is undermining the post-Covid19 complications that can arise in children.
Another reason to delay the process, is that adults need it earlier, as they are severely affected. Adults have to leave home for various income-generation chores. It is far rarer for children to get severely affected by the virus.
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