The FDA's inexcusable foot-dragging on child vaccination

The new school year is fertile ground for the Delta variant to spread

Child waiting for vaccine.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

Many American parents are extremely anxious about returning their kids to school amid the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic — which is especially frustrating because the country is swimming in vaccines. Yet instead of scrambling to issue an emergency use authorization so children can get vaccinated, the FDA has asked Pfizer and Moderna to greatly expand the sample size of their clinical trials for children, which will likely push back initial approval by months, into midwinter.

This is unacceptable. The Food and Drug Administration already has data on kids aged between 5-11, and should issue emergency authorization for all children under 12 as soon as possible, so long as that data shows an acceptably low risk of complications. Dithering to understand very rare side effects is simply bad risk management with the Delta variant spreading like wildfire.

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