When will it be available

Eli Dropic gets a COVID-19 test before being a part of a clinical trial for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Eli, 10, and his sister, 8, were enrolled in the trial on children ages 5-11.

Parents might see a COVID-19 vaccine approved for their elementary school-age children as soon as October or November.

Approval of the vaccine could come with an emergency use authorization, just as it did for adults and adolescents, said Dr. Robert Frenck, director of the Gamble Center for Vaccine Research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

A delay is possible, but Frenck is pretty confident that it won't be much longer before the vaccine is available. A trial of the vaccine for children ages 5-12 began at Cincinnati Children's on March 29.

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Frenck expects the vaccine will get emergency use authorization – the same way the Food and Drug Administration OK'd the use of COVID-19 vaccines for adults and adolescents – after having two months of safety data following the last dose of vaccine for at least 50% of the participants.

"So, I am assuming that the FDA will use the same logic for younger children," Frenck said.

The Pfizer vaccine trial is for children 5-11, and the Moderna, for children 6-11, he said. He should know. A vaccine expert, Frenck is working alongside Dr. Grant Paulsen, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Cincinnati Children's who is leading the Pfizer vaccine studies for children 5-11 and 2-4.

"My guess is that the FDA will have data on the Pfizer pediatric trial by the end of this month and … make a decision in October or November," Frenck said. The FDA is not required to lower the age of the emergency use authorization, though. "So, they will need to review the data to decide if lowering the age is the right thing to do."

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