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Kids and babies are getting sick. When can they get a COVID vaccine?

Pfizer’s vaccine now has full FDA approval. But what does that mean for kids?

With school just around the corner, a summer filled with unease about the delta coronavirus variant and more stories of young children getting sick is prompting some parents to wonder: When will my child be able to get vaccinated? 

This week, Pfizer got full approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its mRNA vaccine in people age 16 and older (the vaccine still has emergency use authorization for kids as young as age 12). Some think that having a coronavirus vaccine with full FDA approval will pave the way for local governments, businesses and schools to mandate vaccines for employees, but that still leaves young children out of the equation. And as coronavirus case numbers climb again, more children are also getting severely sick with COVID-19. According to an Aug. 6 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitalization rates tripled in children age 4 and younger the week of July 17 compared to June 26. 

Experts don’t know right now if it’s the more contagious delta variant making more children sick, or the relaxation or total stop of public health measures such as mask mandates and social distancing that leave those without immunity at higher risk.