Pfizer and Moderna are testing their coronavirus vaccines in children under 12, in a process that could have doses ready for US recipients as young as 6 months old by fall. Pfizer said Tuesday that it's starting its tests with children as young as 5 and will add younger ones in a few weeks, the New York Times reports. The results from the 4,500 recipients could be available in October or November, Pfizer said, and be ready for a decision by the Food and Drug Administration soon after that. The vaccine has been approved for children 12 to 15 already. In the trials, children 5 and older will be given doses one-third the standard size, and those under 5 will be given smaller doses. "We take a deliberate and careful approach to help us understand the safety and how well the vaccine can be tolerated in younger children," a Pfizer executive said.
Moderna began testing its vaccine on younger children in March, in a study that could include 6,750 American and Canadian recipients. The company expects results by the end of summer that it will submit for FDA approval. "I think it's going to be early fall," Moderna's chief executive said, "just because we have to go down in age very slowly and carefully." Children are less likely to contract COVID-19 than adults and usually have milder symptoms if they do come down with it, per the Wall Street Journal. And children can spread the virus. A Pfizer researcher said the hope is that vaccinating children "will help further protect our communities and contribute to the evolving herd immunity." About 3 million children 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated, the CDC says. It hasn't been announced, but Sinovac's chairman said China has approved its vaccine for children as young as 3. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)