The latest developments on potential COVID-19 vaccines has experts "cautiously optimistic."
Drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have said an early look at data from its potential COVID-19 vaccine shows it to be more than 90% effective, a result that is much better than expected if the trend continues.
As trials continue, questions remain whether or not the vaccine will be safe for children and pregnant.
Pfizer previously received clearance from the FDA to test the drug on children, Today reports. In September, those 16 and older were allowed to participate. One month later, it was expanded to include children as young as 12 years old.
However, there have been no reports of plans to test any vaccines in pregnant women.
"The sooner we can get a vaccine out to everybody, you can reduce transmission to everyone," Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of pediatric infectious disease at Stanford University and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Infectious Diseases, said. "As long as there are people out there who can spread it, we're just not going to get rid of this pandemic."
Will there be a COVID-19 vaccine for children?
Dr. Robert Frenck, director of the Vaccine Research Center at trial site Cincinnati Children’s, said the company had enrolled 100 children between 12 and 15 and 200 between 16 and 17.
“If the immune response in kids is the same or better than in adults and if the vaccine is shown (to be) protective in adults, we will make the extrapolation that the vaccine should be protective in kids,” he explained.
Dr. Octavio Ramilo, chief of infectious diseases at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said it is unclear right now when the COVID-19 vaccine may be available for kids.
While Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of pediatric infectious disease at Stanford University and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases, said “it could be feasible to think about a vaccine for kids in the fall of next year, but that’s a really, pretty big guess. We don’t know, but at least there’s a possibility.”
When will there be a vaccine that is safe for pregnant women?
Dr. Stephanie Gaw, an obstetrician and assistant professor at the University of California's San Francisco campus, said pregnant women haven't typically been included in vaccine trials.
"If they're not enrolled in a trial, then we can't do long-term follow-up because the biggest question about doing trials in pregnant women is what happens to the baby," she explained. "In a sense, not doing these trials on pregnant women, basically pregnant women are kind of always in this very uncontrolled trial, real life."
Dr. Denise Jamieson, chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta and a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' COVID-19 OB Expert Work Group, believes vaccines will be approved with emergency use authorization (EUA). She also shared that "it'll be important that pregnant women are provided the opportunity, with careful counseling, to be vaccinated, even if there's not a lot of safety information."
Currently, plans for vaccine distribution do not specifically mention pregnant women, the outlet noted.