Clinical trials underway to test COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness for children

Updated: Jan. 10, 2021 at 10:28 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - COVID-19 vaccines are underway all around the world. Now, according to Mayo Clinic, both Pfizer and Moderna have clinical trials underway to study the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines in children.

Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for recipients ages 16 and up, while Moderna’s vaccine is for those 18 and up. Most times, vaccines are tested in adults first to confirm they are safe for pediatric trials.

“We have extended the age group that we’re testing these in to include kids. Depending on the exact vaccine, I think the Pfizer one now is enrolling kids over 12. Some of the other ones have gone down to 5 years of age,” said Emily R. Levy, M.D., Pediatric Critical Care Specialist and Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist at Mayo Clinic.

The potential of authorizing a vaccine for children instills hope in caretakers like Kathy Johnson, owner of a local child care business.

“I think it would give an added layer of protection. Not only am I worried about the children, I’m worried about every family that I care for. We all have multiple families in our care, and we don’t want it to cross over from family to family and make everyone sick,” Johnson stated.

While there is no date set to expect the vaccines for kids, Kathy said she is thankful they are already looking into its development.

She added, “Kids should be vaccinated, because we’re trying to make sure that all the families in our care stay healthy and our own families. Ever since COVID started, we’ve had a great risk, and trying to decide what we should do with remaining open or closed, and it’s just that stress on all of us every single day.”

The delay comes from determining the different dosage levels or formulations from the adult vaccines. Most times, the vaccine must be authorized for a child’s specific age before they are able to receive it. The process slows the trial stage down immensely.

“The vaccine won’t be given to any children until it’s been demonstrated safe and effective,” Levy said.

As for now, the vaccines are going to adults, especially those more susceptible to risks for complications from the virus.

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