Washington, November 29: Top US epidemiologist Dr Anthony Fauci has estimated a delayed roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine for children. The candidates that have shown efficacy during the trials would initially be administered only upon the adult populace, he said, pointing out that the tests were conducted only on those aged above 18.

Fauci, while speaking to a top American news channel, noted that the process of releasing the vaccine to the adult population first is normal. To prevent any side-effects on vulnerable groups, the children and senior citizens are excluded from the clinical tests. Jair Bolsonaro, Brazilian President, Expresses Scepticism Towards COVID-19 Vaccine, Says He Will Not Take It.

"Children, as well as pregnant women, are vulnerable," Fauci told the NBC, adding that before the minors are administered with the vaccine, "you're going to want to make sure you have a degree of efficacy and safety that is established in an adult population".

The vaccine candidates of Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca have completed their phase three trials and reported a high rate of efficacy. The US Food and Drug Administrator (FDA) would first grant the emergency use authorisation, before allowing the drugmakers to release the vaccine for the general populace.

Speculations are rife that the vaccination for COVID-19 frontline workers may begin in the US by end of December. In that case, the vaccination of normal population could begin by January-February 2021. Fauci expects mass vaccination by April to June next year.

Before the vaccine is released for children, the drugmakers would conduct a separate round of trials involving minor volunteers. While Pfizer began inducting children as young as 12-year-old into the trials from October, Moderna is still considering to rope in teenagers. The latter's Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks had, while speaking to Axios, said a vaccine for children could be made ready by "middle of next year".

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 29, 2020 11:14 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).