When will children be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

To say parenting through the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge is an understatement.

And, now many vaccinated adults are waiting to know when exactly their children can get the vaccine before they breathe a sigh of relief.

Children are much less likely to have serious disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 than adults. However, some kids do get seriously ill. In the U.S., more than 13,000 children were hospitalized from COVID-19 infections, and 268 had died.

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And even though young children are less likely to transmit the virus than others, that risk, again, is not zero, and adolescents have been associated with transmission. There’s also concern that some newer strains like the B. 117 strain out of the U.K. bight be more transmissible in children.

And, for American society to reach herd immunity, children – who make up 25 percent of the U.S. population – need to be vaccinated. The good news is that those 16 years of age and older are already eligible for the vaccine, and 12-to-15- year-olds are also already eligible.

Pfizer has begun a trial on younger children, vaccinating kids age 5 to 11. The company plans to extend the age range from there, testing the vaccine on children as young as 6 months old.

Data from these trials, however, is not expected to become available until late 2021.