COVID-19 Vaccine Facts

A COVID-19 vaccine may be available for adults, but a vaccine for children could take years.

“Most of the focus of vaccine development against COVID-19 has been in adults with the objective of protecting against severe infection,” said Dr. Glenn Fennelly, Chair of pediatrics at Texas Tech El Paso and Chief Transformation Officer at El Paso Children’s Hospital.

In September, pharmaceutical company Pfizer started including teenagers as young as 16 in a trial. In October, they began a new trial that includes children as young as 12.

Fennelly said more research is needed to make sure a COVID-19 vaccine will be safe for kids and teens.

“The overwhelming majority of cases have been in adults, cases and deaths. Children have only accounted for about 0.8% of all deaths to date. If a vaccine is safe, there is very little downside to giving it to all children to prevent transmission to the adults, prevent transmission to their grandparents or others in the household,” said Fennelly.

Fennelly said to date, about 5,000 children across the U.S. have been hospitalized with the coronavirus. In El Paso, he says there’s been 150.

“Locally, they’ve accounted for about 16 percent of all COVID positive individuals,” said Fennelly. “In time, I would not only feel safe but feel it’s an imperative to get my child immunized. This is ultimately going to be the only way we control this pandemic.”

Fennelly said based off of expert guidance, it may take until mid-2022 for a vaccine to be approved and widely available for children.