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U.S. could start vaccinating young kids in early 2022, Dr. Fauci says


Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S.

Kevin Dietsch | Reuters

The U.S. could begin vaccinating older kids against Covid-19 this fall while elementary-aged children may start getting their shots early next year, White House Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anthony Fauci told lawmakers on Wednesday.

“For high school students, it looks like they will be available to get vaccinated in the beginning of the fall, very likely for the fall term,” Fauci told lawmakers during a hearing with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Fauci said researchers will likely have enough data on immunizations for younger children — 12 and under — to begin giving them shots in the first quarter of 2022.

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s for people ages 18 and older, while Pfizer‘s vaccine can be used in people as young as 16.

Drugmakers are quickly testing their coronavirus vaccines in children to determine whether they’re safe and effective. Both Pfizer and Moderna started testing their vaccines in adolescents late last year.

Moderna on Tuesday said it’s started dosing younger children in a mid- to-late stage study to determine whether its vaccine, mRNA-1273, can be used to immunize children between six months up to 12-years old. The study, which will enroll about 6,750 children in the United States and Canada, will test the company’s two-dose vaccine given 28 days apart.

However, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in January that he doesn’t expect the data from kids younger than 12 to be ready before 2022, though he anticipates more information on the vaccines’ performance among those 12 and older before September.

“I don’t think the trials will take long at all,” Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” on Tuesday.

“I think it’s very likely for children over 12 that we could have vaccines for them by the summer, and for children who are younger, it’s possible we could have it by the end of this year, beginning of next year,” Offit said.

A Pfizer spokesperson wasn’t immediately available to comment on the company’s progress testing its vaccine in younger kids.

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