The number ofbeing administered in the US has significantly increased since mid-January, with the help of that released nearly all the coronavirus vaccines for use. Over have been vaccinated so far in the US, but children aren’t among them. At least, not yet. Some new developments in coronavirus vaccine trials paint a clearer picture of when kids could get vaccinated against COVID-19 — we’ll explore that below.
We’ll also share what we know about other groups of people who may not be vaccinated yet, or who may face certain risks. For the sweeping majority of folks, the vaccines from both Moderna have been shown to be safe. However, just like with any new drug, doctors encourage caution when taking coronavirus vaccines, especially for people who have had adverse reactions to vaccinations in the past.and
For example, one standard safety measure with the a small amount of people have had allergic or other kinds of reactions.involves remaining on-site for a period of time after getting the injection. That’s to give medical professionals time to monitor for any adverse reactions, but it doesn’t mean doctors expect anything bad to happen. Only
Here, we compile available data from the FDA, WHO and CDC, along with information from leading health experts on who is advised to take the COVID-19 vaccine and who should contact a medical professional first.
When will a coronavirus vaccine be available for kids?
Right now, Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is authorized for use in people aged 16 and older. (Moderna’s is designated for 18 and older.) That’s because, until recently, the vaccine hadn’t initially been tested in children 12 years or younger. That’s to be expected. Vaccines are typically tested first in adults before researchers begin tests in children, once the drug has been found to be relatively safe.
Moderna and Pfizer are both now testing their vaccines on kids between the ages of 12 and 17. Moderna expects to have its label expanded for the vaccine to cover those aged 12-17 years old by this summer. For now, it’s undetermined when the COVID-19 vaccine will be tested in children aged 11 and younger.
What if you’re pregnant or nursing? Is the vaccine safe for you?
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, the FDA leaves the decision over whether to take either of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines to you and your doctor — however, the WHO doesn’t recommend pregnant women to get vaccinated at this time. Up to this point, regulators in the UK have so far recommended against it until the vaccines can be tested and proven safe for pregnant and nursing women.
On Feb. 18, Pfizer announced it has started clinical trials to evaluate the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women. The first set of participants have received their first doses.
Should people with allergies get the coronavirus vaccine?
In the UK, on the first day of administering the Pfizer vaccine, doctors observed two patients who experienced severe allergic reactions to the drug. British doctors are being told to monitor patients for 15 minutes following administration of a COVID-19 vaccine. In the US, from December 21, 2020 to January 10, 2021, there were 10 detected cases of anaphylaxis after administration of more than 4 million first doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine — or roughly 2.5 cases per million doses administered, according to the CDC. (There are now in the US who have been vaccinated now.)
The FDA says that complications are rare and that some people might have an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccines, like anaphylaxis or tissue swelling, from both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. Some scientists are investigating if the cause is an ingredient in the vaccine — but not the COVID-19 mRNA itself — that could be triggering some reactions, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications — such as allergies to food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex — may still get vaccinated,” the agency states one of its COVID-19 Vaccines and Severe Allergic Reactions page.
The FDA has published a fact sheet on the Pfizer vaccine and a separate fact sheet on the Moderna one. Both publications caution: “A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose…” Both sheets then list several signs and symptoms of such an allergic reaction:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face and throat
- A fast heartbeat
- A full-body rash
- Dizziness and weakness
If you have a history of allergies, you can expect to be monitored for 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.
The World Health Organization says “people with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it.” The FDA also recommends you should not take the Pfizer vaccine if you’ve ever had a severe reaction to any of these ingredients:
- Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)
- Lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate) 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol)
- Potassium chloride
- Monobasic potassium phosphate
- Sodium chloride
- Dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
The FDA similarly recommends avoiding Moderna’s vaccine if you’re allergic to any of its ingredients:
- Lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC])
- Tromethamine hydrochloride
- Acetic acid
- Sodium acetate
You might still be able to get a vaccine even if you’ve experienced allergic reactions to vaccinations in the past. In its most up-to-date guidance, the CDC echoes the FDA by indicating that just because you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to having been vaccinated in the past shouldn’t automatically stop you from being vaccinated against COVID-19.
“These persons may still receive the vaccination, but they should be counseled about the unknown risks of developing a severe allergic reaction and balance these risks against the benefits of vaccination,” the CDC says on its website.
How will you be protected against the coronavirus if you can’t take a vaccine?
If you’re a patient with a health condition who is advised against getting a COVID-19 vaccine by your physician, you may have to wait until enough people have been vaccinated in the US to be protected yourself. Even if you yourself don’t take a vaccine, being surrounded by enough vaccinated people — what’s known as “herd immunity” — can provide a measure of protection against the coronavirus. But that will take time. It may require as much as 90% of the population to become immune to the disease before those who are still susceptible might be considered safe.
To usher that process along, the best thing you can do for now is to follow the CDC’s safety guidelines: wear a mask whenever you’re indoors (except in your own home), , and maintain at least six feet of distance from people you don’t live with.
It’s going to take time before life returns to normal. To get a sense of how long, take a look at this timeline of when different groups will be able to. There will likely be more coronavirus vaccines rolling out over the next several months, and will also help determine when you get to take it. Finally, where you can get the vaccine.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.