‘It’s going to help us move forward;’ when vaccines will be available for high schoolers

(Gray tv)
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 8:22 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Residents 16 years and older are now eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine in Iowa and parts of Illinois. Local epidemiologist Rebecca Heick says this is going to greatly impact our area and make it easier to return to “normal activities.”

Currently, only Pfizer has been approved for 16-year-olds since they were included in their clinical trials. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are now in their early phases of testing vaccines for children six months to 11 years old.

“It’s going to help us move forward, and we expect that before the next academic year begins. So in August, the vast majority of children ages 12 and above will have been eligible for vaccination at that point before returning to school,” says Heick. She believes those five to 11 years old will be able to get their vaccines in late 2021 to early 2022.

Heick says younger children are at a lower risk of severe illnesses from COVID-19 but are still at risk of exposure and passing it to others. Officials believe herd immunity will not be reached until children get vaccinated.

“We’ve seen recent studies that indicate that children in the 12 to 17 year old age range actually transmit COVID-19 twice as often as our children aged 11 and under,” continues Heick.

At this point, only Pfizer has been approved for 16 and 17 year olds since Moderna and Johnson & Johnson only included those over 18 years old in their initial clinical trials.

“Pfizer has reported their initial data on 12-15 year olds and should be heading to the FDA for review to expand their EUA in the near future. Moderna and J & J are working on trials for children age 12-17 years,” adds Heick.

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