SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — It may be July now but summer play time will soon give way to classroom time and one set of students is still waiting for their turn to be vaccinated: kids age five to eleven.
“We’re very concerned about her not being able to be vaccinated,” said Kristen Rubine, mother of an 11-year-old.
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong of the University of California at San Francisco says emergency-use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for that age group won’t come until late September or early October with Moderna unlikely to be approved before December. The FDA has asked Pfizer to double its study size due to concerns over reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in youngsters.
Dr. Chin-Hong says that’s a good thing to ease parents’ concerns.
“It is reasonable just to put the question to rest just by looking at a larger sample of kids, where you can detect even rare outcomes by studying enough kids for enough period of time,” he said.
Even with the Delta variant circulating, Dr. Chin-Hong says it’s safe for elementary and middle-school kids to get back into the classroom so long as teachers and staff are vaccinated and everyone is masked.
“Kids under 12 have fewer receptors where the virus uses to enter the body — called ACE2 receptors — for reasons we don’t understand and that’s why kids were always the protected ones during COVID,” he told KPIX.
11-year-old Morgan Rubine is headed to middle school. She’s the only one unvaccinated in her family and eagerly awaiting her dose.
“I am kind of worried. It has been hard to watch everyone in my family get vaccinated before me,” Rubine said.
Mother Ragini Mathur, whose five-year-old Shaira will start kindergarten in the fall, is keeping a close eye on the FDA.
“You need time to develop something, you need time to test it on children, to have clinical trials, to have them done successfully to whatever degree is possible that can be established in a short time frame. I can understand that but I feel like it would be great if they could get moving on the 5-to-12 age group as soon as possible,” Mathur said.