Trials with the COVID-19 vaccine for children will build on what we’ve learned from the adult trials.
They will only need thousands instead of tens of thousands of trials. The researchers will be focused on watching for any side effects and analyzing the children’s blood to make sure they generate an immune response similar to the one effective in adults.
- Trials are underway in kids aged 12 to 15.
- A vaccine for younger children isn’t expected until early next year (2022).
Danielle Collins’ son is ready.
“He’s the child of a health care provider and hears the stories and understands the burden and he is anxious to get past this as well,” said Collins.
Pediatrician Dr. Richard Chung’s son, Caleb, volunteered to participate at Duke University.
“I think for him at age 12, to have that experience of taking back control from the pandemic, at least for a brief moment in time, I think is pretty cool,” said Chung.
Duke is testing the vaccine in about 2,000 children between the ages of 12 and 15.
“That’s a lot of young people who are really doing something great on behalf of all of us,” said Chung.
The safety bar is higher for vaccines in children, but critical for ultimately ending the pandemic.
“When we talk about herd immunity and we know that 25% of the population is children, we know it’s important for children to be part of vaccine trials and part of what we’re trying to accomplish with mass vaccinations,” said Dr. Angela Moemeka, pediatrician.
Studies are underway in kids aged 12 to 15. The next age group is 6-11, then focusing on those younger.
“We really want to make sure the benefit is as high as possible because they have mild disease. So that’s the part of the reason why it’s taken a little bit longer on the pediatric side,” said Moemeka.
Caleb doesn’t know if he received the actual vaccine or a placebo. He was tired and had headaches afterwards but recovered quickly.
Danielle Collins said as a healthcare worker she felt a weight lifted when she got the vaccine and hopes her son will soon feel the same sense of comfort.
“It’s such a relief of a burden that I knew was heavy but I didn’t know how heavy until I received that vaccine and started to feel a little bit more confident that I’m going to make it through this all right,” she said.
Right now, a vaccine for younger children isn’t expected until early next year (2022).