Some parents scheming ways to get ineligible children vaccinated

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DALLAS — Students are less than three weeks away from the first day of school in Dallas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said there will not be a statewide mask mandate leaving some parents asking if it’s safe for their students to go back to class.

Jason Morton says he might lie about his 9-year-old daughter’s age so she can get the COVID-19 vaccine. A vaccine not yet available to children under the age of 12.

“When I first held her in my arms I made a promise to always protect her and this is one of those situations where I might have to do something extraordinary to do that,” Morton said. “I weigh her safety vs the morality of making this decision and to be honest the morality doesn’t weigh as much as protecting my daughter.”

However, pediatrician Dr. Elizabeth Thomas says that’s a bad idea.

“Knowing that the trial only included people 12 and above, I think it would be wise for the parent to wait until their child reaches that minimum age,” Thomas said.

For now, she suggests parents encourage their children to wear masks at school while vaccines are being tested.

“Rest assured the vaccine is going to be coming out, we just don’t know exactly when,” Thomas said.

This week the FDA urged vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna to expand their testing on a vaccine for children between 5-11. That new testing will be required before the vaccine can receive authorization and it could delay the delivery of vaccines for younger children beyond the fall.

Moderna said Monday it plans to expand the size of its COVID-19 vaccine study in younger children to better detect rare side effects, such as a type of heart inflammation recently flagged by U.S. health authorities.

Pfizer said on Monday that if it makes changes to its vaccine testing in children, it will provide an update then. The New York-based company is testing its vaccine in up to 4,500 children in the United States and Europe.

Currently, Pfizer has the only U.S. vaccine authorized for children 12 years and up, while Moderna is expecting an FDA ruling on its application in the coming days.

While teens receive the same dose as adults, younger children may need smaller doses. That additional complexity adds time to drugmakers’ research and application timelines.

Moderna said Monday it expects to have enough data to apply for FDA authorization in younger kids by late this year or early 2022.

Pfizer has previously said it expects to apply in September for children ages 5 through 11. Results for two younger age groups that began testing a little later should be available by October or November, according to the company.

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