Congressman Brett Guthrie, who serves on a House committee that has studied vaccine issues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said Wednesday that the process of testing vaccines on children under age 12 will take time.
Guthrie, a Bowling Green Republican and ranking GOP member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health, said testing a vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 12 first requires researchers to determine the proper vaccine dosage.
“It takes a lot longer than for adults to do a study,” Guthrie said in a phone interview.
Studies are underway, but pharmaceutical companies “haven’t released a time frame” for how long the studies might take, Guthrie said.
The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson COVID vaccines have been available to the public for months through an emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. The Pfizer vaccine received full authorization in August. Moderna submitted a request for full authorization last week, Guthrie said.
“I think it took longer than it needed to for Pfizer to get approval,” said Guthrie, who added that getting full approval “is an extensive process.”
“Speed is not the answer we want. It’s accuracy,” Guthrie said. “I had confidence in the (the vaccines) in emergency use.”
Guthrie, who has taken the COVID-19 vaccine, said people can trust that the vaccines are safe and effective, and he noted that there were more participants in the COVID vaccine studies than in a typical pharmaceutical study.
“Ninety-one% of all new cases (in Kentucky) are not vaccinated,” Guthrie said.
Although cases are surging due to the Delta variant, “the vaccine is still highly effective” against the variant, Guthrie said.
“I don’t want people to say the vaccine is not effective (against) the Delta variant, he said. “When 10% of vaccinated people have cases, that still shows (vaccines are) highly effective.”
Side effects from COVID vaccines are fairly rare, Guthrie said.
The effects suffered by people with long-haul COVID, Guthrie said, “far surpass anything we’ve seen in side-effects in vaccines. We don’t know what the long-term effects of COVID are.”
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse