As coronavirus cases surge and some kids head back to the classroom, children under 12 could be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine earlier than anticipated.
According to Dr. Danny Avula, the state’s vaccine leader, COVID-19 vaccines could be authorized for children aged 5 to 11 as early as September, nearly a month ahead of schedule.
This comes as nearly 94,000 tested positive for the coronavirus during the past week, The American Academy of Pediatrics reports. This is a 31% increase from the 72,000 cases reported a week earlier.
“We had anticipated that we would have an authorization for the younger age group sometime this fall. It looks to be happening a little bit quicker than we originally expected. We were hearing reports based on the timeline of data submission around October, but we are hearing closer to September now,” said Avula.
This announcement came during a call on Tuesday, where Avula and health experts discussed the latest developments and updates regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and responded to questions from reporters.
During the call, Avula stated that vaccination will be the most effective against the Delta variant, which is nearly twice as contagious as the previous COVID-19 variants, CDC reports.
“It is what will allow us communally to move forward, to progress,” Avula said. “COVID is not gonna go away after the Delta variant, and we’re gonna see likely future variants and we are gonna need to learn how to live with this disease. Vaccination has to be the bedrock of that with all of these other layers of presentation and mitigation that we’re talking about here.”
He added that the FDA is close to providing full-licensure for the COVID-19 vaccine, too, with full approval slated for September.