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COVID-19 vaccines slowly begin to roll out for young kids

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Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani discusses the rollout of COVID vaccines for kids 6 months to 5 years, plus a new test that could indicate when a person needs a booster shot.

Video Transcript

BRAD SMITH: A milestone for COVID-19 vaccines, healthcare workers across the country began vaccinating children six months to five years old this week. Yahoo Finance's Anjalee Khemlani joins us now with more of the details. Anjalee.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's right, Brad. We know that the vaccinations did start yesterday, but we are seeing a slower rollout than we have for other age groups, largely, in part, due to parents being hesitant or just a slow rollout of the shipments themselves. Some pediatricians and hospitals have said they have yet to receive their doses.

Meanwhile, we know that pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens are also taking part in this. But again, not at the same pace as we've seen for, say, adults and older kids, as they're restricted to not administering those doses to ages under three. So we are seeing some of that anticipated slowness in this rollout still. As you mentioned, a major milestone as we finally started vaccinating the youngest eligible age group in this country.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, definitely a lot of parents have been waiting for that, although there's still-- even penetration among the older kids is not super high. But Anjalee, on a separate note, you're looking at new tests that could soon tell you if you actually need a booster or not.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's right. Mount Sinai Health System in New York did-- the researchers just came up with a test, a blood test, and a rapid one at that, that can tell you about the T-cell response to COVID. Now that's an important topic that a lot of vaccine experts and virologists have been looking at in order to be able to tell what the long-term or durable protection from these vaccines is.

We've heard it multiple times at those FDA advisory committee meetings. Some of those experts have wanted to know the answer. And in part because of the nearness to the start of the pandemic still, we don't have that long-term time span to do the research, but this test could help.

Now, we know that antibodies wane over time. And that's one part of the equation. And the T-cell response-- that's the other half-- is a longer term protection. And once we know the answer to that, we could get more definitive answers as to when individuals will need boosters in this country, whether it's annual or whether, like other vaccines, we might be protected for a longer period of time.

BRAD SMITH: All right, another significant research and development effort moving forward there. Yahoo Finance's own Anjalee Khemlani breaking it all down for us. Thanks so much, Anj.