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COVID-19 Information

Clinical Trials for Kids 6 Months – 15 Years

Pfizer and Moderna, two of the makers of COVID-19 vaccines, are starting the next phase of clinical trials in children and are now recruiting pediatric patients starting at 6 months old to 15 years.

While the virus has more heavily impacted adults, to defeat the pandemic, children will also have to be immunized, which means trials are necessary to make sure vaccines are safe for them.

Kelsey-Seybold’s Chief of Pediatrics Jessica Lanerie, M.D., answers commonly asked questions about involving kids in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.

COVID Clinical Trials for 6 months to 15 years
Why is it important for children to take part in Pfizer and other vaccine trials?

Dr. Lanerie: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were authorized by the FDA in December. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for individuals 16 and older and Moderna for individuals 18 and over. Anyone younger may need a different dosage or different vaccine schedule – which is why this trial is necessary.

It’s been reported children generally have a milder reaction to COVID-19 infection, so why should they be vaccinated?

Dr. Lanerie: COVID-19 typically leads to a milder illness in children and adolescents when compared to adults, but severe and fatal illness is possible. As of Jan. 7, 2021, around 2.3 million children in the U.S.A. have tested positive for COVID-19, and anyone who has the virus can spread it to others.

There is growing concern that even a mild initial COVID-19 infection could lead to long-term complications in both adults and children. Most importantly, without children and adolescents getting vaccinated, herd immunity may not be possible.

Why not just give adolescents and teens the same vaccine as adults?

Dr. Lanerie: It’s essential to collect data on the efficacy of the vaccine in children and adolescents. As with all vaccine clinical trials, determining side effects is an important part of the study as well. Because of the lack of study data, it’s currently impossible to say when the vaccine will be available to children, but the hope is a vaccine will be available by the start of school in the fall.

Should I enroll my child or teen in the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine trials?

Dr. Lanerie: This is a decision for parents or guardians to make, but it’s worth considering, as a vaccine for children could mean protecting them from a potentially severe illness and a return to normalcy. As with most medical decisions, children under 18 need parental consent to sign up for vaccine clinical trials. Before deciding whether to enroll your child in a trial, consult with your pediatrician or family physician about your child’s risk of experiencing side effects from the vaccine due to allergies or other underlying health conditions.

If I want to enroll my child in the Pfizer trial or Moderna trials, what do I need to do?

Dr. Lanerie: The Ventavia Research Group in Houston, located at 610 North Loop and Ella, is currently recruiting patients 6 months old to 15 years of age. Patients will receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or a placebo. Interested parents can call 832-831-53-49 for more information.