Health experts optimistic COVID-19 vaccine for kids 12 and older could be available by next school year

Could some kids and teens have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine by the start of the next school year? With the latest announcement from Pfizer, some health experts certainly think so including, Dr. Michael Chang, pediatric infectious disease expert with UTHealth/UTPhysicians. 

"There was this gap of [ages] 12 to 15 that could spread pretty easily we think as easily as adults and now potentially they can be covered by vaccine, too," Chang told FOX 26.

On Wednesday, Pfizer announced its topline results -- its COVID-19 vaccine was shown to be 100% effecitve against COVID-19 in 12 to 15-year-olds. 

The trial included just under 2,260 participants with about half getting the placebo. Pfizer reports 18 cases of COVID-19 were reported among the placebo group and none in the group that got the vaccine.


Chang says the smaller number of participants in the pediatric trials than in adult trials should not concern parents. He says it's standard, not a short-cut.

"It is par for the course for vaccine trials to have less pediatric participants," Chang explained.

He adds it is harder to recruit pediatric participants and the experts also take into account the all the data from the adult trials.

Pfizer also announced it is expanding pediatric trials to as young as six months. Last week, it began dosing children ages five to 11. Next week, it will begin in children ages two to five.

Moderna is also testing in children. Trial results in ages 12 to 17 are expected in the coming weeks. Earlier this month, it announced it is recruiting children between six months and 11 years.


Johnson and Johnson also plans to test its COVID-19 in children older than 12. Soon after, it plans to expand to younger children and infants.

AstraZeneca is beginning trials in children.

"AstraZeneca has been recruiting pediatric patients overseas. As far as I'm aware, they haven't actively started recruiting patients in the United States," Chang noted. 

Chang says if these results hold up, he believes by late this year or early next year, children as young as six months old could get a COVID-19 vaccine.