Children in the US under age 16 could begin getting Covid-19 vaccines by "early summer", according to President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Speaking at a press briefing attended by IANS, the US government's top public health expert said clinical studies to determine safety of already approved vaccines in lower age groups will ramp up in the "next couple of months".
"Over the next couple of months, we will be doing trials and in an age de-escalation manner so that hopefully by the time we get to the late spring and early summer, we will have children being able to be vaccinated, according to the FDA's guidance," Fauci told reporters.
Waiting for more data
Age "de-escalation testing" has already started for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Fauci explained that the studies to test efficacy and safety data in children can be done "in a much smaller trial measured in hundreds to a couple of thousands" of participants. Once safety is confirmed, results will be bridged with the efficacy data from the main trial of Moderna and Pfizer which each had more than 30,000 participants.
The results could be pivotal for the intense debate over public school reopenings. Biden has set a goal of reopening most K-8 schools in his first 100 days. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are currently being given to health care workers, nursing home residents and older Americans.
(With inputs from IANS)