Clinical trials underway to develop COVID-19 vaccine for children

Updated: Mar. 16, 2021 at 9:12 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - There have been very few reports of children falling victim to coronavirus in the United States, but research to develop a vaccine for children is now underway.

While the average healthy child remains at a relatively low risk to contract coronavirus, research is still needed to evaluate how best to fight the pandemic.

“If we only vaccinate adults, then kids are still passing COVID around. And if grandma’s immunity from the vaccine runs out, then she is at risk from catching it all over again from her grandkids,” said Dr. Jeff Kingsley, CEO of IACT Health in Columbus.

IACT Health is a medical research facility that conducts clinical trials. Kingsley says the trials being conducted now by the manufactures of the COVID-19 vaccines involving children are ethical.

Others agree and say this is a step in the right direction.

“It is important to get the correct dosage for a child’s vaccine and see how they respond to it and what side effects they might have and how it may be different from an adult’s side effects,” said Pamela Kirkland with the Columbus Health Department.

There are no vaccines passed for children yet.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults and Pfizer’s vaccine for those 16 and older.

Just last month, the FDA authorized the emergency use of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine for adults 18 and older.

“My friend’s son, who got COVID, actually has heart problems now, and you never would have predicted it. And if she could go back in time and give her son that vaccine, she absolutely would have if it was available,” Kingsley said.

In Moderna’s trials, they will be administering COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as six months old up to 12 years old.

In Pfizer’s, they are testing on children 12 to 15 years old.

Even if they enroll enough children into the trials, they would still need to gain approval from the FDA.

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