Mayo Clinic vaccine expert says COVID vaccine for children will be here soon

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — A Mayo Clinic Health System vaccine expert says the FDA will likely approve a COVID-19 vaccine for young chidren by the end of the month.

At the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 cases in children were among some of the lowest, but that’s changed, said Dr. Gregory Poland, director of Mayo’s Vaccine Research Center.

“We’ve had a 240% increase since July, of the number of adolescents and children hospitalized with COVID,” Poland said. “Last week there was almost a quarter of a million cases in kids and teens.”

Poland says a big reason why is because many kids are not able to be vaccinated.

Poland has been closely involved in vaccine decisions at the federal level and says a vaccine for children could receive emergency use authorization by the end of the month.

“The rumblings in my ear are pretty close to the ground The rumblings are that perhaps by Halloween there will be a EUA for children 5 to 11 years old,” said Poland.

The emergency approval will cover only the Pfizer vaccine, and the dose would be one-third of what adults get, Poland said.

The research for the children’s vaccine is promising, he said

“We see the same reactogenicity that we did in adolescents, which is pretty low overall. Did not see any safety side effects and young kids that are healthy like that just have superior immunity,” Poland said.

Myocarditis is still a concern for children getting vaccinated, but Poland says it’s very rare, and the vaccine benefits for children still outweigh the risks.

Poland’s full presentation can be found here.