When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available for children under 12?

It's been four months since the COVID-19 vaccine was opened up to all residents in Michigan over the age of 16 and two months since 12 and up were eligible for the shot. So when will children between 2 and 12 be eligible? It could still be a few months.

As Michigan's COVID-19 cases begin to climb again and parents look to send their children off to school for another year, parents may be eager to get their children between the age of 2 and 12 vaccinated against COVID-19. The delta variant is spreading and is more contagious than the initial form of COVID-19, posing an increased risk to all who are not vaccinated.

The largest group left is children between 2 and 12.

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What we know about the virus is that is less likely to make children severely ill than it is for older people or those with health conditions. But being unvaccinated still leaves people vulnerable to getting sick in some manner.

Just last week, more than 94,000 children in the U.S. were diagnosed with COVID-19, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported.

Hospitals in most states are reporting more and more children in their pediatric COVID units are being treated - though the same isn't true in Michigan as of this writing.

To date, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for those 12 and up. The FDA is currently considering whether to extend the use of the Moderna vaccine to the same age group but it's currently only available for people 18 and up.

When will children under 12 be eligible for the COVID vaccine?

Michigan-based Pfizer was the first to ship out any vaccines after receiving authorization in December of 2020. The company will also be the first to submit information to the Federal Drug Administration.

Pfizer has said it will submit its safety data on 5 to 11-year-olds and is expected to get it in by the end of September. The FDA will then have to take the necessary steps to determine how quickly it grants authorization.

It's believed to be available for children by late fall or the beginning of winter.

Moderna has also said it will submit data by the middle of the fall.

Timing for children younger than 5 is less certain but officials hope to have authorization soon after children 5 to 11 are approved.

This timing is subject o change and is dependent on the volunteer pool gathered by the companies. The FDA may want to increase the number of children testing the vaccine as it will help determine and find the rarest of side effects.

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Will the vaccine for children be different?

The vaccine will be the same makeup as what was created for adults but will be a smaller dose.

Pfizer ahs said children 12 would receive 10 micrograms while everyone 12 and old receive 30 micrograms.

Just like in adults, children receive two vaccines spread over 3 weeks.

Children from 6 months to 11 will get 3 micrograms.

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Can the FDA move faster to authorize the COVID vaccine for children?

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics said the delta variant is creating a new and pressing risk to children and underscores that the vaccine needs to be authorized for children soon.

"The FDA should strongly consider authorizing these vaccines for children ages 5-11 years based on data from the initial enrolled cohort, which are already available, while continuing to follow safety data from the expanded cohort in the post-market setting," the letter states.

In the end, the process is deliberate for a reason but it is expected to happen soon.

What can you do to protect your children?

Until they're vaccinated, children in this age group are at risk of catching the virus. The best thing you can do, as their parent, is to get vaccinated and keep yourself safe and hopefully prevent bringing the virus into your home.

Your kids should also stick with wearing a mask and thoroughly washing their hands - the same things we've done for 18 months.

For more information on vaccines, visit the vaccines portion of our COVID-19 page.