SAN ANTONIO – With San Antonio’s school risk level staying in the red as the city continues to grapple with a high COVID-19 case count, some parents and guardians are wondering where kids land in the timeline for the vaccine rollout.
Currently, the vaccine is only approved by the Federal Drug Administration for people over the age of 18. And Texas health providers are only offering the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to people who fall into two categories — Phase 1A and Phase 1B. Phase 1A consists of front-line healthcare workers and residents at long-term care facilities, and Phase 1B includes people 65 or older or those 16 and older with a chronic medical condition.
So, when will children be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine in San Antonio and Texas?
That is a commonly asked question from KSAT viewers and we got answers from UT Health infectious disease expert Ruth Berggren and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Berggren said both Pfizer and Moderna are vaccinating down to the age of 12 in their current trials.
San Antonio is one of the Moderna trial sites for teens. The results from these trials could be released in three to four months.
Berggren said scientists will look at that data and then continue the study at younger ages.
She estimated that kids may be able to start getting the COVID-19 vaccine in fall 2021 or in 2022.
The CDC states that the goal is for everyone to eventually become inoculated with the vaccine, but that will happen “as soon as large enough quantities are available.”
“Once (the) vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers,” the CDC’s website states.
The CDC also states that fewer cases of COVID-19 have been reported in children up to 17 years old as compared to adults.
The hospitalization rate for children is lower than the rate for adults with the virus, according to health officials. About one in three children hospitalized with COVID-19 symptoms were in intensive care.
Children and infants with underlying medical conditions, however, could be at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus.
Children who are 9 years old and younger make up 5.7% of the city’s case count, according to San Antonio’s Metro Health Department. About 11% of the case count consists of children ages 10-19.
As of Tuesday, about 1,702 students in Bexar County schools have tested positive for the virus. About 10 confirmed outbreaks have been reported in schools in the county.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff reported 1,341 new cases and nine new deaths on Wednesday, bringing the area’s case count to 164,270 and the death toll to 2,007.
There are currently four public vaccine distribution sites in San Antonio: Metro Health’s clinic at the Alamodome, a Wellmed clinic at Elvira Cisneros Senior Community Center on the South Side, a WellMed clinic at the Alicia Treviño López Senior Community Center on the West Side, and University Health’s clinic at the Wonderland of the Americas.