- CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky said she hopes to expand the COVID vaccine authorization to children under 12 by the end of the year.
- Valensky says the delay in vaccine authorization for children under 12 is due to a review of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy data
- COVID-19 cases among children hit record high during week ending September 2, with 250,000 children testing positive
- Parents are divided about whether to vaccinate their children and children account for less than 0.1% of all deaths in the US
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said he expects COVID-19 vaccines to be available for children under 12 by the end of the year.
in an appearance on NBC Today On Monday, Dr. Rochelle Valensky said there is no definite timeline, but that US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials are working to approve shots in young children.
He told host Savannah Guthrie, ‘We’re waiting for companies to submit data to the FDA, we anticipate that will happen in the fall.
‘We’ll look at that data from the FDA, the CDC with the urgency that we all feel to get our kids vaccinated and we’re looking forward to the end of the year.’
It comes as Covid cases among children hit a record-high in recent weeks, with 20,000 children hospitalized.
However, most pediatric cases are not serious and virus-related deaths in children are rare, with pediatric deaths accounting for just 0.1 percent of all COVID-19 deaths.
Dr Rochelle Valensky (pictured) told the TODAY show that she hopes to have COVID-19 vaccines available for children under 12 by the end of the year.
More than 250,000 children tested positive for the virus in the week ending September 2. The opening weeks of the school year have been particularly devastating as classes are disrupted in more than 1,000 schools across the country due to the virus. Pictured: A girl in New York City attends the first day of school on September 13
Pfizer and BioNTech have indicated they plan to file for emergency use authorization for children aged five to 11 this month.
Moderna is also testing the vaccine in young children, but has not said when it plans to file it with the FDA.
During her interview, Valensky said she expects to see higher vaccination rates in schools before vaccination measures are rolled back.
“I think what we really need to see are very high vaccination rates and very low rates of disease in the community,” she said.
COVID-19 infections among children reached a record high during the week ended September 2, with 251,781 positive cases, according to data from the American Academy for Pediatrics (AAP).
Youth also contributed more than 25 per cent of the total infections reported last week, also an epidemic high.
Schools have been a driving force for transition among children, including over 1,000 schools 35 states have already had to shut down to deal with the rise in cases.
However, American parents are divided Whether or not they will vaccinate their children on 50/50.
Some doctors have even suggested that children do not need vaccination because of their low risk of serious illness and death.
But Valensky said officials are working as quickly as possible to approve the use of the vaccines.
He said, ‘We want to move fast.
‘We expect to move fast, but we also want efficacy data and safety data that’ [the] The FDA will require it, so as soon as it’s available, we’ll know if it will qualify for science,’ she said.
Former FDA chief Dr Scott Gottlieb, now a board member of Pfizer – the maker of the most popular COVID vaccine in the US – also believes the vaccines could be available for children as early as October.
Meanwhile, Valensky recommends that people around children get vaccinated to protect them.
She continued, ‘The best thing we can do for our kids is to be surrounded by people who have been vaccinated.’
Americans aged 17 or 18 (solid gold bar) and 12 to 15 years old (dashed gold bar) have the lowest vaccination rates of any age group in the US
Valensky also said that she supports masking in schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Host Hoda Kotb asked the CDC director if there’s anything that parents should have a ‘real concern’ about when it comes to universal masking.
Valensky told TODAY, ‘We haven’t seen any science that defends that view.
She also said that the data shows that when students and staff wear masks, there are far fewer days due to school closures.
“We have seen data after data showing that schools that are not wearing masks are closing because they are having outbreaks,” she said.
‘In Georgia schools we saw 37 percent fewer closures, fewer outbreaks last year than when they used masks.
‘I would say the data really absolutely shows that masking does reduce outbreaks in schools.’