As the United States eagerly awaits the availability of a safe, effective vaccine for the coronavirus that has plagued the nation for months, a significant group, making up more than one-fifth of the population, will need to wait longer than many others for immunization: children.
On Sunday, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledged it is going to take time, perhaps even months, before those younger than 18 can get a coronavirus vaccine. Trials to test the vaccine candidates’ immunogenicity are either underway or have yet to begin. Pfizer, which is developing a vaccine with German partner BioNTech, announced in October they were expanding testing of their vaccine to those 12 and older.
The wait has prompted pediatricians and other public health experts to voice concerns that further delays endanger at-risk children, hinder efforts to return schools to normalcy and stall herd immunity.