Since last year, many people are hopeful that 2021 will be a year that will be full of hope. Many families have been stuck in their homes in the past few months, which has to lead to a plummet in productivity for many industries that need a present workforce. In the last quarter of 2020, many pharmaceutical companies have been rolling out COVID-19 vaccines so that much of the world’s economy can get back on its feet.
Since the confidence in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has surged, many are hopeful that this year will be better for everyone. Now that many people are getting a shot of the approved vaccines by authorities, many industries are (partially) resuming their pre-pandemic mode of operations.
However, many experts would say that the current vaccines that we have are exclusively for adults. If they’re for adults, when will we have a vaccine that’s also for children? Why can’t children be vaccinated? Here’s what you’ll need to know.
What’s A High-risk Group? Are Children Included?
But right before we move into why these vaccines are usually targeted to adults, we have to dispel any misunderstanding and fear that’s surrounding vaccines. Although these vaccines were designed for adults in mind, that doesn’t mean that experts are leaving children out of the picture. ;
Based on the group that’s usually been vaccinated, those that are “eligible” for vaccines are adults that are 16 years old and up. Why? There are some tangible reasons for this. According to initial research that was being done on the vaccines during the testing phase, they were being targeted on a healthy adult population that has a strong immune system right before being tested on elderly folks and children younger than 16.
In addition to this, children are not part of what’s considered a high-risk group. This means that they don’t get as many severe symptoms, with the majority of COVID cases being present in older individuals. In fact, most medical organizations would say that children and babies are not at risk compared to adults. However, there is still a chance that they can be infected and can spread it to others.
On the other side of the coin, most individuals who are at risk of severe symptoms, such as older adults and those that have a history of health concerns, are usually more vulnerable.
That said, many authorities have prioritized the health of those that are more at-risk. This means that adults and older adults will need to get a shot and those that don’t.
Research Is Still Ongoing
Although children are not considered part of the general population that’s vulnerable to the virus, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the pandemic can still affect them, especially when it comes to their development and education. Not only that, but there’s still a chance that they can contract COVID-19, which might cause transmission towards older individuals.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the public fear that’s still looming overhead, many children aren’t able to go to school. Not being able to socialize with other children and is limited to devices that are used for educational purposes and communication can severely impede their social and emotional development.
That said, many researchers and experts are working tirelessly to ensure that children are completely safe from the virus. There is a ray of hope and good news since manufacturers are already starting their own vaccination trials. Pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, which have a 95% efficacy rate for their vaccine, have already been testing children younger than 12. Other companies like Moderna, which’s known for having a vaccine that can help fight other virus strains, have also been testing children.
When Can We Expect It?
When can we expect it? It’s hard to tell when the vaccine will be ready since researchers and manufacturers will need to consider a variety of factors. Not only will they have to think of their target demographic, but they’ll also need to consider the mode of storage and how they’ll be able to distribute it to different parts of the world effectively.
Fortunately, with new COVID-19 research and testing equipment, such as ace2 assay, it’s easier to produce different versions of the vaccines for different demographics. Not only will this ensure that vaccines are safe for everyone’s use, but this will also cut down on time and energy needed to produce approved vaccines.
In order to create and produce effective (and safe) vaccines for children, scientists will need time and funding. Just because the past vaccines were made for adults doesn’t mean children are being left out. Rest assured, there’s bound to be doses that are appropriate for children in the near future.