When will COVID-19 vaccines be available to younger children?

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In just the two weeks since becoming eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations in California, a quarter of 16-and-17-year-olds have received at least one shot, according to the state.

Younger kids may not be far behind.

While child-to-child transmission has been rare, it’s expected vaccines for kids ages 12 to 15 could be approved as soon as next month, and no later than this summer.

“That’s the next big thing,” said Dr. George Rutherford, head of the Prevention and Public Health Group at UCSF.

He told KCBS Radio that Pfizer, which says its shot is 100% effective and safe for kids as young as 12, could get federal approval within weeks, and Moderna is expected to apply shortly. Then, the next rush to get vaccinated will happen.

“I say we’re going to get adolescents vaccinated at a pretty high rate, and adolescents can transmit a lot,” Rutherford said. “There have been outbreaks, school-based outbreaks, with adolescents.”

Variants have some experts worried about possible outbreaks in schools.

It’s hoped that schools, which won't require COVID-19 vaccinations for this fall, might help with distribution as they did during the polio epidemic.

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