Dr. Fauci says he expects babies and toddlers will have a COVID-19 vaccine by spring 2022

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Dr. Fauci says he expects babies and toddlers will have a COVID-19 vaccine by spring 2022
Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on January 21, 2021 in Washington.Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Dr. Fauci says children from 6 months to 5 years old may be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the spring of 2022.
  • Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine seems like the likely frontrunner for FDA authorization in that age group.

Kids younger than 5 years old are the only people in the US who still can't get any COVID-19 vaccines.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci says they (and their parents) shouldn't have to wait too much longer.

"Hopefully within a reasonably short period of time, likely the beginning of next year in 2022, in the first quarter of 2022, it will be available to them," Fauci told Insider, though he quickly acknowledged there's really no way to know that for sure.

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"Can't guarantee it, you've got to do the clinical trial," he said.

Pfizer seems to be the likely frontrunner in the race to vaccinate babies and toddlers, because its pediatric vaccine trials are already underway. (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also planning to trial their COVID-19 vaccines in young kids, but Moderna is still in the recruitment phase for children in the 6 month to 6 year cohort, while J&J has had some regulatory delays, and is still testing its vaccine in 12-17 year olds.)

Earlier in the year, Pfizer suggested that it might have an Emergency Use Authorization submitted to the Food and Drug Administration by late November for kids in the 6 month to 2 year old age group, and that the EUA for 2 to 5 year olds would be submitted alongside that of the 5 to 11 year olds in September.

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But Pfizer hasn't submitted any clinical trial data to the FDA for kids under 5 yet. It can be tough for vaccine makers to predict exactly when clinical trials will be completed, because the timing hinges in part on how many trial participants get sick during a study period (as we know, COVID-19 illnesses don't like to run on a set schedule.)

At some point, COVID-19 vaccines will likely be recommended for all children, down to six months of age, or even younger. Studies of vaccinated mothers' umbilical cords and breast milk suggest that newborn babies born to vaccinated moms have some protection against COVID-19 for their first few months of life.

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