More than 3.6 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across 180 countries, according to Bloomberg. Two-thirds of all adults in the United States have received at least one dose of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine as of mid-July 2021 and many countries have started lifting restrictions. 

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Yet for parents of children under the age of 12, who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, there is still no collective sigh of relief. Last month, Pfizer announced that it is expanding its clinical trials for younger children ages 5 to 11-years-old. It said that during the two-year study,  a subset of the children enrolled in the trial will receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and a second group will receive a placebo or salt water. The Pfizer vaccine injected in children is the same as the one injected in adults, but the dosage will be less.

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The Indian centre told the Delhi Highcourt on Friday that clinical trials of coronavirus vaccines for children were almost complete. Children will be inoculated expeditiously once the government’s expert body on COVID-19 vaccination gives permission, PTI reported, quoting the government. 

Why do children need their own clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required that new vaccines be independently studied in children, National Geographic reported in February 2021. 

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Children’s immune systems are still maturing and are unpredictable, so they might react to the coronavirus differently or have side effects that don’t occur in adults, the report added.

After tens of thousands of adults participated in phase 3 clinical research studies of COVID-19 vaccines over several months in 2020 and early 2021, the US now has three vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA for people 18 years of age and older and one vaccine, Pfizer, authorized for use in children age 12 and older. How kids’ bodies differ from grown-ups’ Children are not just littler grownups; their bodies differ from adults in important ways, a researcher from The Conversation says. 

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Pediatricians hope that vaccinations will prevent a disorder known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children. The disorder can involve inflammation in several vital body parts, including the heart, lungs, and brain.

“I’m seeing these inflammatory conditions constantly in the hospital and am worried. If we can prevent the onset of the infection itself, we can prevent the post-infection consequences.” Joseph Domachowske, professor of pediatrics at State University of New York Upstate University in Syracuse said as per National Geographic.