Aug 25, 2021
By Jane Brown
Parents and grandparents with young children returning to in-person learning at school are likely wondering, “when will COVID vaccines be ready for kids under 12?”
Dr. Peter Juni is scientific director of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.
“And that’s actually one of the reasons that it takes awhile,” Juni explained, “We need to get the dose right and we need to make sure that the dose is equally effective and safe, and we also need to get the interval right, so that takes a moment. So I would hope that approval would happen in this country in November, so that we could start to vaccinate in December.”
Dr. Juni says COVID vaccines for kids will be made by the same manufacturers as vaccines for those 12 and over.
Parents are already clamoring to hear more about approval or authorization for children under 12, however.
Dr. Bob Frenck is director of the Vaccine Research Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
He told CNN, it appears that kids can get a much smaller dose of vaccine than adults and still get the same immune response.
That’s good news, because it means vaccine supply can be stretched further, Frenck said.
“We took a step back after we did the adolescents, and we looked at the dosing, because we thought that we may be able to use a lower dose and be able to get the same immune response,” Frenck said.
It looks like children ages 5-12 get a strong immune response with 10 micrograms of vaccine antigen, Frenck said.
“So one third of the dose that we’re giving adults, or even one third of the dose that was used in 12-year-olds and above, was just as immunogenic. We got just as good an immune response as the 30-microgram dose and there were less side effects,” he said.
“So because of that, for the 5-12-year-old dosing we are looking at 10 micrograms, and then, in the younger kids, under 5, even going down further to 3 micrograms.”
That might be confusing, but it simply means children have a stronger immune response, Frenck said. “It just really proves as far as that the kids’ immune responses are good. They’re very strong,” he said.