BOSTON – Massachusetts lawmakers are getting a jump on a plan to vaccinate children under 12 so they are ready when federal regulators give the green light.
At a Monday public hearing, lawmakers will “consider how the vaccination process for young children will be different from the process for adults.”
“This is an opportunity to hear about public health messaging, best practices, lessons learned, and equitable distribution,” according to a notice for the 11 a.m. hearing, which will be held at the Museum of Science and livestreamed.
President Biden during a CNN town hall last week was optimistic that approvals for childhood vaccines could come in weeks, though he admitted scientists had not promised a specific date.
Trials began in March for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for younger children. The results of the trials are expected in the fall, not within weeks.
Experts have predicted an emergency use authorization for the 5-to-11 age group sometime in September or October.
Children under 12 are still ineligible to receive the vaccine in the U.S. and Biden has hinted at a coming Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory that children who are not vaccinated wear masks in school in the fall.
With cases rising around the U.S., the American Academy of Pediatrics last week recommended that all children older than 2, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a mask.
Gov. Charlie Baker last week told reporters he was not inclined to reinstitute coronavirus restrictions like face coverings, but left decisions up to individual districts.
Boston was the first school department to take the leap, with Acting Mayor Kim Janey announcing this weekend students would return to school this fall wearing masks.
The policy will apply to buses as well as BPS buildings.
The Boston Teachers Union said it agrees with Janey’s decision, but said it expects the policy to be re-evaluated when children under the age of 12 become eligible for a vaccine.
More than 30 experts, including Health and Human Services Secretary MaryLou Sudders will testity on Monday.