COVID-19 vaccinations for young children now expected to start later in 2022.
“We’re ready to provide this next generation vaccine – no wait, no hold, no problem,” said Dr. Brian King, executive director for the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Health System, who is running the program. “I’ve been here for three years – this is the way it’s always been done. We’re going to be ready to go. We’re going to have these vaccines in our armories by July of 2022.”
The program will help save lives in the near future. For example, the first doses could help combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the cause of COVID-19, which was first identified last year in Wuhan, China. The new vaccine is intended to be used in children between six months and five years old in the coming months.
The program is part of the U.S. government’s commitment to ramp up its efforts to fight a pandemic in just five years. In addition to the effort of vaccines in large quantities, the administration is implementing widespread testing.
The program has been under development since 2017 with funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The project was led by Dr. Michael J. Merit, a renowned immunologist with UCSF, and Dr. King is just one of the scientists who has participated in developing the vaccine in the past three years.
The plan for the first five years is to test a 10-dose regimen, which would include 10 doses of the vaccine each containing a different component. Each dose is designed to contain a different part of the virus, which would prevent it from mutating and potentially becoming more transmissible.
Each dose – for example, the first one – is a different strain of the virus while maintaining the ability to protect against the virus, said Dr. Paul Offit, director