U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has said he believes it’s likely that a COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 will be given emergency use authorization during the next school year.
Murthy made the remarks during an appearance on the “Skimm This” podcast.
“What are the odds that a vaccine for kids under 12 will be approved during the next school year?” Murthy was asked as part of the podcast’s “lightning round.”
“I think the odds are high,” Murthy responded.
COVID-19 vaccines currently aren’t available for children under the age of 12 in the United States. However, Pfizer said in a statement in June that it was beginning to test its mRNA vaccine in a larger group of children under the age of 12 after selecting a lower dose of the shot in an earlier stage of the trial.
A Pfizer spokesperson said at the time that the company expects data from 5- to 11-year-olds in September and would likely ask regulators for emergency use authorization later that month. Data for children 2 to 5 years old could arrive soon after that, the spokesperson said.
The company also said it’s testing a dose on children in the 6-month to 2-year-old age group, and expects to have that data sometime in October or November.
Its vaccine has been authorized for use in children as young as 12 in Europe and Canada. They receive the same dose as adults: 30 micrograms.
It comes as scientists in the United States and elsewhere are studying the possibility of a link between heart inflammation and mRNA vaccines, particularly among males aged 12 to 24 years. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are mRNA shots.
The safety committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last month concluded that heart inflammation “can occur in very rare cases” and recommended “listing myocarditis and pericarditis as new side effects in the product information for these vaccines, together with a warning to raise awareness among healthcare professionals and people taking these vaccines.”