When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available for kids and will it be safe?

While the race for a COVID-19 vaccine continues, some parents are not only worried about when the vaccine will be available for their children, but if it will be safe.

The safety concern comes after a number of pharmaceutical manufacturers said they don't plan to include kids in test trials.

Until now, children under 16 have not been included in any of the COVID-19 vaccine trials in the United States.

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Most companies are not testing anyone under 18.

Even if a vaccine is authorized by the end of the year, experts say only adults will be allowed to take it initially.

"The plan right now is for the federal government to distribute it to the states and for the states to push it out to physicians' offices and mass immunization clinics," said Dr. Melanie Mouzoon of Kelsey Seybold Clinic. "So it will originally go to health care workers and those at highest risk."

READ MORE: Next up in hunt for COVID-19 vaccine: Testing shots in kids

That includes people over 65 and those living in nursing homes.

"This illness has been much more serious in the elderly and adults. The vaccines are being trialed in the populations at highest risk," Mouzoon said.

Earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics wrote to a top federal health official, urging them to take steps to include children in trials.

Pfizer is the only company testing children as young as 16.

SEE ALSO: Pfizer to begin testing COVID-19 vaccine on children

Katleyn Evans, 16, said she wanted to volunteer to help people. She has already received her first injection and is waiting for a second. She doesn't know if she received the vaccine or a placebo.

"So I am going to have to pay attention to if I am experiencing any symptoms from whatever it is that I got, and then I'll come back in another month and get another dose. I won't be coming in for 6 months, and I just have to keep track if I am experiencing any symptoms," Evans said.

It's still unclear when the vaccine will become available to children because the vaccine has to be widely tested in children before being distributed.

Major pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Johnson and Johnson have promised to start pediatric clinical trials, possibly by the end of the year.

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Experts say until children have a COVID-19 vaccine, the best thing for adults to do is to continue to socially distance and to take the vaccine provided to drive down community transmission rates.

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