A: No. This is a bad idea for a few reasons, which I’ll get to below.
But first I want to offer some solidarity. As the parent of an 11-year-old looking at the start of 6th grade in just 3 weeks, I feel you. I know exactly how you arrived at this question. I also would do just about anything to protect my kids. But lying about their age to get them vaccinated now is just not the right move to protect them.
1️⃣ Right now, we’re waiting on the 🧪 science 🧪 for kids’ vaccines, particularly around the best dosing to balance safety and efficacy. Children are NOT just smaller adults. As we have discussed before, vaccine dosing is NOT based on body size.
Based on what we know so far from the phase 1 trial data and what has been released publicly, the dose for younger kids is very probably going to be a lot smaller than the dose for people 12+. In fact, there may be tiers of dosing for different age groups to maximize safety and efficacy.
We can speed up the scientific process to find that balance of safety and efficacy, but we ⛔ NEVER ⛔ skip steps–especially around vaccine safety. So far the vaccines have been speedy but no safety step has been skipped. This is not the moment to decide that you are your own child’s amateur pediatric immunologist, and reading some stuff on Reddit does not make you (or me) a vaccine clinical trial researcher.
2️⃣ If you lie about your child’s age to get them vaccinated for COVID-19 under the current EUA and the vaccine is later authorized for their age group, you may have to get them re-vaccinated to comply with the schedule as authorized by the FDA and recommended by the CDC.
3️⃣ If you lie about your child’s age to get them vaccinated early and they do end up with a severe reaction that requires treatment, you and the provider who gave the vaccine could be in really big trouble. Your insurance may deny coverage for your child’s treatment; you could end up having to pay for the vaccine doses; the provider who gave the vaccine may face legal sanctions and/or lose their ability to offer vaccines in the future; you will not be eligible for compensation through the vaccine injury compensation fund. And you could even be in legal trouble yourself. It’s against the law to give your child a medication off-label without a prescription.
We expect to see those trial results soon. In the meantime, hang in there! Wear your masks and do what you can to reduce your risk while we await safety information on the vaccines for these younger age groups.
One way to get your kiddo a vaccine ahead of schedule that is NOT illegal: volunteer for a clinical trial. Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trial for children is still enrolling.
Newsweek interviewed several experts on this issue recently.