The highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19 is tearing through the U.S., driving up infections, just days before the start of the school year. More children are getting infected with the virus since the strain began circulating this summer. Here’s what you need to know:
Are children getting the Delta variant?
The number of Covid-19 cases in children has steadily increased since the beginning of July, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. After declining in early summer, child cases have seen a fourfold increase over the past month, rising from about 38,000 cases the week ended July 22 to 180,000 the past week, according to the AAP.
Now that the Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine received full approval from the FDA, can I get my child under 12 vaccinated?
The vaccine is now eligible for off-label prescriptions—or use beyond the approved populations. That could include booster doses, according to the Food and Drug Administration, but prescribing the vaccine off label for children wouldn’t be appropriate as there are no data on proper dosing or safety in youth, according to acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock.
She said more data from continuing clinical trials is needed to be sure the vaccines are safe for children in this age group, for which vaccines aren’t authorized for emergency use.
The AAP is also urging parents and doctors to hold off on vaccinating young children at this stage. “We do not want individual physicians to be calculating doses and dosing schedules one-by-one for younger children based on the experience with the vaccine in older patients,” said Yvonne Maldonado, chair of the AAP’s committee on infectious diseases. “We should do this based on all of the evidence for each age group, and for that we need the trials to be completed. I know parents are anxious to protect their children, but we want to make sure children have the full benefit of ongoing clinical trials,” she said.