Top Health Experts Address COVID-19 Vaccine and Children

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At pharmacies across the Bay Area, the COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available -- but even as some hope to get vaccinated soon, there is still hesitation and questions, like is it safe for children?

Burlingame resident Cameron Garrett, 15, feels comfortable getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available, but his grandmother and guardian Florence Allen still has questions.

“…I don’t know if it’s going to work, I don’t know what the downside of it could be,” said Allen.

She said that she’d like to have a detailed conversation with her doctor about it to see how others fare with the first batches.

Pfizer is the only vaccine manufacturer that has started clinical trials for teenagers.

Kaiser Permanente of Northern California is part of that trial with participants in Santa Clara County and Sacramento. If successful, a full-fledged return to school could be possible.

“We know that once we have a vaccine for children, that will make it safer for children and for the adults in the school system,” said Dr. Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

What about younger kids, infants and toddlers? Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed that Thursday.

“You start off, let’s say at 12, and then you work your way down to a younger group and then a younger group,” Fauci said.

The vaccine contains a genetic code for the proteins in coronavirus that should prompt an immune response in children that is similar to the response prompted in adults.

“Our bodies can make antibodies against proteins as young as a few weeks of age, so we really may not even need to modify the vaccines at all,” said Dr. Robert Frenck of Cincinatti Children’s Hospital.

If those trials are successful older teens could start getting vaccinated by March.

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