An 8-year-old boy from Dallas, Texas, has accidentally received a COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. government only uses three vaccines in the country – Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna. According to the emergency use authorizations, the Pfizer vaccines can be given to individuals above 16 years of age, while the other two vaccines have been sanctioned for those 18 and above.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clearly states that “children and adolescents” outside these age groups should not be given any vaccines. The fact that an 8-year-old got vaccinated was puzzling to many. The boy received the vaccine from a center at Grand Prairie. In order to receive a vaccination, one must register on a website run by Dallas County. The site collects the registrant’s personal information, including the date of birth.
COVID-19 vaccines not yet allowed to be given to minors
The boy’s father registered his name and received a QR code, so he assumed that his child could be vaccinated. Only when he spoke to pediatrician Marcial Oquendo did the father realize that the COVID-19 vaccine is not currently approved for children.
“We don’t have the data, especially under the age of 12, to say if it works, is it safe, how much should we use, which kid can get it and which kids can’t… It needs to be in a controlled setting of a clinical trial where we are monitoring every possible angle to be able to say if it’s safe and effective to use in kids in this age group,” Oquendo told Fox 8.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that the vaccination was a “human error.” The boy was initially placed on the suspended, ineligible list, as he was under the age of 50. When the next age group became eligible, the process failed to remove registrants under 18 years of age. As a result, the boy was also deemed eligible and received a vaccination. Jenkins stated that they are working to ensure that such a mistake is never repeated.
Meanwhile, the three vaccines are currently being reviewed for use in children. In late March, Pfizer announced that their vaccines are effective and safe for ages 12 to 15. The vaccine was “well-tolerated” among the age group and generated side effects that are “generally consistent” with those already observed in older teens and young adults. The company is presently studying the vaccine’s effectiveness on children under 12.
A Moderna study will be focusing on children under the age of 12, including infants as young as six months. Around 6,750 children from the United States and Canada will be part of the study. Johnson & Johnson has only begun testing the vaccine on teens ages 16 and 17. Once data from this demographic is analyzed, the company will expand the testing to 12 to 15-year-olds.
One woman from Richmond, whose three sons aged 9, 11, and 15, contracted COVID-19, jumped at the opportunity of having her kids participate in Moderna’s vaccine trial. “It’s very scary… I’ve seen what COVID can do firsthand to your children. Even in a non-severe case, you don’t want your child to have COVID. You don’t… We have to make sure that the vaccines are safe and they have to be tested,” she told ABC8News.