The vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. are likely safe for both pregnant women and children under the age of 18, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said in a briefing Wednesday.

What You Need To Know

  • The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are likely safe for pregnant women and children, Dr. Fauci said Wednesday

  • Fauci pointed to the number of pregnant women who have already gotten the shot plus current recommendations

  • He also highlighted the number of studies starting up to test the shots in pregnant women, teens and young children

  • Dr. Fauci said he expects that high school students will be able to start getting the shot in the fall

Fauci noted that various studies on pregnant women, teens, and young children are in the works from the companies that manufacture the vaccines.

So far, the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for Americans 16 and older, while the shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are reserved for adults – for now.

No studies have been completed for pregnant women, but Dr. Fauci said Wednesday that several thousand pregnant women have gotten a shot with no notable issues.

“It is unlikely that we will require a full efficacy study involving tens of thousands of volunteers,” Fauci said. 

For now, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recommended that vaccines be open to pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Last month, Pfizer and BioNTech began testing their vaccine in pregnant women in a study that will include 4,000 healthy participants in multiple countries, starting in the U.S.

“Enabling broad access to our highly effective COVID-19 vaccine is an important goal for us,” said Özlem Türeci, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of BioNTech, in a statement.

Johnson and Johnson also plans to test its vaccine in pregnant women, according to materials submitted to the FDA, noting its prior experience vaccinating those women for Ebola.

Pfizer and Moderna are already conducting studies on children 12 and older, and Dr. Fauci noted he expects high school students to be able to get the shot early in the 2021-2022 school year.

“I believe we will be able to vaccinate children of high school age [by the fall],” Fauci said Wednesday.

Moderna plans to go a step further and test its shot in children as young as six months to 11 years old, according to a press release published late last month.

Johnson and Johnson also has future plans to test infants and young children, though its trials haven’t started yet.


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