“It is conceivable that by Halloween, we could see shots going into arms, but it’s going to take a number of weeks for that process to work its way through,” Dr. James Hildreth, a vaccine adviser to the FDA, told CNN’s Don Lemon Monday.
That process is happening as the second highest total of new cases in children was reported last week and cases among that group continue to rise exponentially, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics published Monday.
In Pittsburgh, officials at UPMC Children’s Hospital said they are seeing an “historic” number of children coming to the Emergency Department. A tent was set up outside the emergency room Friday to help accommodate more patients, the hospital said in a social media post.
Currently, the youngest Americans eligible for vaccination are 12-year-olds, and the vaccination rate of adolescents is still inching toward the halfway mark, according to a CNN analysis of data from the CDC.
Trials are currently underway for younger children, and Pfizer/BioNTech announced in a news release Monday that a Phase 2 of 3 trial showed their two-dose vaccine was safe and generated a “robust” antibody response in children 5 to 11.
The expansion of vaccine access would be important both for protecting children and for ending the hold the virus has on the US for everyone, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Peter Hotez said.
“Ultimately, if we’re serious about halting this epidemic in the United States, we need 85-90% of the US population vaccinated,” Hotez said. “That means all of the adults, all of the adolescents and large numbers of young kids.”
But there is still a big challenge ahead: getting the doses into kid’s arms, CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Johnathan Reiner said.
While some parents are eager to vaccinate their children, others are more hesitant.
“While it seems like a guarantee that parents would give their kids this vaccine, we’re going to have to do a much better job educating a very diverse group of Americans that this vaccine is safe and effective,” he said.
But while health care professionals talk with families about the decision, CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said she thinks it is OK that some parents are not ready.
“I understand that some of them may not want to go first,” Wen said. “There’s another segment of parents who are really eager, who would do anything to have their kids be vaccinated. Let them go first.”
Changes to school policies
As the vaccine process plays out, schools are navigating how to manage students’ safety on campus.
New quarantine protocols for students and faculty of Miami-Dade County Public Schools went into effect Monday, lessening how long staff members and high school students need to quarantine if exposed to Covid-19 from 10 days to 5 days, as long as they have a negative test and are symptom free.
Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said masks are still required for all teachers and students but indicated it’s something they will continue to look at as the year goes on.
“These are metrics that we are advancing to our task force … to be considered as the gatekeepers of a further relaxation of protocols,” he…