COVID-19 vaccine testing is directed at children

Each test dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine – and then having a sparkly bandage to cover the site – did not pinch the 9-year-old twins.

“Sparkles make everything better,” declared Marizole Gerado, as she landed an exam table at Duke University to make way for her sister, Alejandra.

U.S. And researchers abroad have begun examining young and young children to make sure the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and working for all ages. The first shots are going to be for adults who are most at risk from coronavirus, but children will also have to be vaccinated to end the epidemic.

“Kids should get shots,” Marizol told the Associated Press this week. After the sisters participated in Pfizer’s new study of children under 12 years of age. “So that everything can be a little more normal.” She is looking forward to when she can sleepover with friends.

So far the U.S. In, the teen test is far ahead: Pfizer and Moderna are expected to announce results soon on how two doses of their vaccine were given to a crowd of 12 and up. Pfizer is currently authorized for use at age 16; Moderna is for people 18 and older.

Syringes are found in the Queen's Vaccine Center filled with Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.
Syringes are found in the Queen’s Vaccine Center filled with Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Mary Altafer / AP

But young children may need different doses than adolescents and adults. Moderna recently launched a study similar to Pfizer’s new trial, as both companies hunt the right dose of each shot for each age group as they finally work to vaccinate children younger than 6 months.

In Britain last month, AstraZeneca began studying its vaccine for children between the ages of 6 and 17. Johnson and Johnson have plans for their own pediatric study. And in China, Sinowak recently announced that it has released preliminary information to Chinese regulators showing its vaccine is safe in children younger than Chinese years.

Getting these data is crucial for all vaccines to be rolled out as countries must vaccinate children to gain flock immunity, says Duke Pediatric and Vaccine Specialist Dr. Dr. Emanuel “Chip” Walter, who helps further Pfizer’s study.

Most of the COVID-19 vaccines used worldwide were first studied by thousands of adults. Studies in children will not need to be nearly as large: researchers have the safety information for those studies and millions of adult vaccinations.

And because pediatric infection rates are so low – they’re in the U.S. About 13 percent of the cases documented in COVID-19 make up – the main focus of pediatric studies is not counting the number of diseases. Instead, researchers are beginning to measure whether these vaccines improve the immune system of young people as well as adults – suggesting that they offer similar protection.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, at least 888 people have died from covid-1 in the U.S. and more than 150,000 have been hospitalized. That’s more than dying from the flu in the average year. In addition, a small number of severe inflammatory conditions associated with coronavirus have developed.

Aside from the risks to their own health, there are still questions that children can easily spread the virus, which has complicated efforts to reopen schools.

Earlier this month, top US infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fawcett told Congress he expects high school students to start getting vaccinated in the fall. Elementary students, he said, may not be eligible until early 2022.

In North Carolina, Marizol and Alejandra chose to volunteer after their parents explained the opportunity, said their mother, Dr. Duke, an infectious disease specialist. Said Susanna Naggi. Long before the epidemic, she and her husband, emergency physician Dr. Charles Gerado, regularly discussing his research project with the girls.

In the first phase of Pfizer’s study, children receive a small number of different doses of the vaccine, as scientists forget the best dose for testing in several thousand children in the next phase.

“We really believe in the research process and understand that they can get a dose that will not only work but can also have side effects,” Nagy said, describing the decision parents make when their children sign up.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr.  Anthony Fausi testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on the federal coronavirus response on Capitol Hill.
Dr Anthony Fauci had earlier said he expects high school-age students to be able to get vaccinated in the fall.
Susan Walsh, Pool / AP

But 9-year-olds have a little understanding of the devastation of the epidemic and “it’s great to participate in a place where it’s not just about you, but it’s about learning,” Naggi added. “They worry about other people and I think this is something you really know, struck at home for them.”

For marijuana, the only part that was “a little nervous and scary” had to be given a blood sample first.

The vaccination itself was “really easy. If you just sit quietly during the shot, it will just get easier, ”he said.