The COVID-19 vaccine may be rolled out to children starting as early as the spring, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert said trials will begin over the next couple of months to test the vaccines’ efficacy among the country’s youngest population.
“Hopefully, by the time we get to the late spring, early summer, we will have children able to be vaccinated according to the FDA’s guidance,” Fauci said during a White House COVID-19 briefing.
Fauci described the upcoming trials as “age de-escalation testing” that will allow researchers to analyze vaccine efficacy among a smaller batch of children — “hundreds to a couple of thousands,” he said.
Those results then get compared to the larger trials of tens of thousands of people conducted by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech.
“If you can show that it’s safe and that in fact it induces the kind of response that is reflective of the protection — mainly the correlate of immunity — what you can do is bridge that to the efficacy data that you got from the 30,000[-person] trial with Moderna and the 44,000[-person] trial that we did with Pfizer,” Fauci explained.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pointed to recent school data to reiterate that children have decreased rates of transmissibility of COVID-19.
Currently, Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for those ages 16 and up, while Moderna’s is approved for adults 18 and older. Both vaccines — the only ones approved for use in the US so far — require two doses weeks apart.
Fauci has previously said it could take “months” before kids would start getting protected from the deadly bug.
In December, Moderna said it would begin testing its vaccine on 3,000 children ages 12 to 17.