Covid US: CDC director hopes FDA approves vaccine for children under age 12 by the end of the year 

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said she is hoping that COVID-19 vaccines will be available for children under age 12 by the end of the year.

In an appearance on NBC’s TODAY on Monday,  Dr Rochelle Walensky said there isn’t a definitive timeline, but that officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working to approve the shots in younger children.

‘We’re waiting for the companies to submit the data to the FDA, we’re anticipating that will happen in the fall,’ she told host Savannah Guthrie.

‘We will look at that data from the FDA, from the CDC, with the urgency that we all feel for getting our kids vaccinated and we’re hoping by the end of the year.’ 

It comes as Covid cases among children reached a record-high in recent weeks with 20,000 kids being hospitalized as well. 

 However, most pediatric cases are not severe and virus-related fatalities among children are rare with pediatric deaths making up just 0.1 percent of all COVID-19 deaths.

Dr Rochelle Walensky (pictured) told the TODAY show that she hopes COVID-19 vaccines will be available for children under the age of 12 by the end of the year

Dr Rochelle Walensky (pictured) told the TODAY show that she hopes COVID-19 vaccines will be available for children under the age of 12 by the end of the year

More than 250,000 children tested positive for the virus in the week that ended in September 2. The early weeks of the school year have been especially devastating with more than 1,000 schools nationwide having classes disrupted due to the virus. Pictured: a girl in New York City arrives for the first day of school on September 13

More than 250,000 children tested positive for the virus in the week that ended in September 2. The early weeks of the school year have been especially devastating with more than 1,000 schools nationwide having classes disrupted due to the virus. Pictured: a girl in New York City arrives for the first day of school on September 13

Pfizer and BioNTech have hinted tat they plan to file for emergency use authorization for kids age five to 11 this month.

Moderna is also conducting vaccine trials in young children but has not stated when it plans to file with the FDA.

During her interview, Walensky said she hopes to see high vaccination rates in schools before schools rollback mitigation measures. 

‘I think what we really need to see is very high vaccination rates and ery low rates of disease in the community,’ she said. 

COVID-19 infections among children reached a record high during the week that ended September 2, according to data from the American Academy for Pediatrics (AAP), with 251,781 positive cases.

The youth also made up more than 25 percent of total infections recorded last week, also a pandemic high.

Schools have been a driving force for infections among children, with more than 1,000 schools in 35 states have already had to close to deal with a surge in cases.

However, American parents are split 50/50 on whether or not they will immunize  their children. 

Some doctors have also suggested that kids do not needed to get vaccinated due to their low risk of severe disease and death.  

But Walensky said officials are working as fast as they can to approve use of the vaccines.

‘We want to move quickly,’ she said.

‘We anticipate moving quickly, but we also want to have the efficacy data and the safety data that [the] FDA will require so we know as soon as it is available that it will be merited to science,’ she said.

Dr Scott Gottlieb, former head of the FDA, who is now a board member for Pfizer – producer of the most popular Covid vaccine in the U.S. – also believes vaccines could become available to children as early as October. 

In the meanwhile, Walensky recommended people around children get vaccinated in order to protect them.

‘The best thing we can do for our kids is surround them by people who are vaccinated,’ she continued. 

Americans aged 17 or 18 (solid gold bar) and aged 12 to 15 (dashed gold bar) have the lowest vaccination rates of any age group in America

Americans aged 17 or 18 (solid gold bar) and aged 12 to 15 (dashed gold bar) have the lowest vaccination rates of any age group in America

Walensky also said that she supports masking in schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Host Hoda Kotb asked the CDC director if there is anything that parents should have a ‘real worry about’ when it comes to universal masking.

‘We have not seen any science that defends that point of view,’ Walensky told TODAy.

She also said that data suggest that when students and staff wears masks, there are fewer days lot due to school closures.

‘We have seen data after data that have demonstrated that schools that are not masking are closing because they’re having outbreaks,’ she added.

‘Schools from Georgia we saw last year had 37 percent less closure, less outbreaks, when they use masks.

‘I would say that data actually absolutely show that masking decreases outbreaks in schools.’ 




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