Vaccines in Children under 16On March 29, 2021 by Julia Weber
There has been a lot of hype over the vaccination campaign in America. So far, we have vaccinated a third of our population over sixteen years, with many more to follow. Joe Biden began his presidency by promising 100 million shots given in 100 days. He achieved this goal only 58 days after taking office. He recently revised this to 200 million before the 100-day mark, meaning life could go back to normal in the coming months. It may be possible that we can stop having to wear masks, and COVID will become the new flu. While this is uplifting and we should definitely take a moment to be proud of ourselves, there is one group of people who cannot celebrate this victory with us.
Pfizer vaccines have been approved for children 16 and over, while Moderna and Johnson and Johnson are limited to 18 and over. This means that only people over the age of sixteen are currently eligible to receive a Coronavirus shot. Applying this to our school, only some sophomores and most Juniors can get one, leaving the Freshmen and some Sophomores still in a vulnerable state, not even mentioning the fact that all kids in elementary and middle schools could still easily contract the virus. Whenever a new medicine is released, be it a vaccine or something else, it is first approved in adults, and then, usually years later, tested on kids. This is due to the fact that kids have special immune systems that could react in a totally different way. While this happens quite rarely, it is worth doing special testing for younger people.
Knowing that it sometimes takes years for vaccines to be eligible for children under 16, this raises the question of how long it will take on our fast-tracked COVID vaccine schedule. The answer is a little fuzzy considering there are multiple vaccines on the market right now. According to the New York Times, Pfizer and Moderna are both testing vaccines on kids aged 12-15 right now, which is the main group that needs them considering teenagers are almost twice as likely to be infected than young kids. The results of the trials are expected to be released this summer and, with any luck, we may have the entirety of Crosstown vaccinated by next school year. Moderna also plans to test vaccines on people aged 6 months to 12 years soon, depending on the results of the ongoing trial. We have almost beaten this pandemic, and now is the time to pat ourselves on the back, but not to give up. Continue to wear your mask and get a vaccine whenever it becomes available to you, and we may be back to normal before the end of the year.