Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said he doesn’t anticipate a COVID-19 vaccine for young children until the end of the year.
Collins made his comments on Tuesday during an interview with NPR.
He noted Pfizer and Moderna are collecting trial data. One of the things researchers are trying to determine is whether young children should get a smaller vaccine dose.
He said it is possible that Pfizer could submit its findings to the Food and drug Administration for review by the end of September.
But, he said, "I've got to be honest, I don't see the approval for kids — 5 to 11 — coming much before the end of 2021."
Meanwhile, he said masking will keep schools open.
"If you want to avoid having that outbreak that's going to send all the kids home again, you should be doing everything to avoid that," he said. "And that means wearing masks. And by the way, if somebody tries to tell you we don't really have scientific evidence to say that masks reduce infection in schools, that's just not true. There are dozens of publications, both from the U.S. and other countries, to show that's the case. So, boy, I wish we could get over that fight."
NPR noted his remarks came a day after the Food and Drug Administration gave approval Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 and older. It is available on an emergency use authorization for children between 12 and 15.
The New York Times said that two coronavirus vaccine makers expanded the size of their clinic trial for young children in July. The move was seen as a precautionary measure designed to detect rate side effects that surfaced in vaccinated people under 30.
The FDA had indicated to Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna that the size of their research on the vaccine for small children, was not adequate to detect rare side effects, according to the newspaper.
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