(NEXSTAR) – With nearly a quarter of Americans now fully vaccinated, many are wondering: Will kids need the vaccine, too?
The answer is undoubtedly yes, said Donna Hallas, the director of the pediatric nurse practitioner program at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
“They definitely need the protection,” she said.
While children report fewer adverse symptoms to COVID-19 than adults, that doesn’t mean they can’t spread the virus.
“Children, thank heavens, haven’t had a horrible time with COVID, some have gotten very sick of course, of course, but children do spread the disease without having the symptoms,” Hallas said.
Vaccinating children will also help schools reopen and prevent them from passing on the virus to older family members.
“Even if they don’t personally get sick, they can get other people sick,” Hallas said.
Pfizer and Moderna are both testing the vaccines on children.
A recent study found that in trials, the Pfizer vaccine was 100% effective at preventing severe COVID-19 infection.
It’s not yet known when children will begin receiving the vaccine.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said in March that children will likely begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the fall.
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the nation’s top infectious disease expert said, “We will get children of high school age — 12 to 17 — to get vaccinated by the fall.”
Younger children will likely have to wait longer. Fauci predicted that those under the age of 12 may start receiving the COVID-19 vaccine “in the first part of the first quarter of 2022.”