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Doctors say more COVID-19 vaccine trials for children are on the way

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Posted at 3:44 AM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 08:12:34-05

TAMPA, Fla. — As more parents want to know when a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved for their children, more companies are starting clinical trials.

“We want to make sure that the vaccines are safe,” said Dr. Carina Rodriguez, Division Chief of Infectious Diseases and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of South Florida.

Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are three of the companies working on a vaccine for kids right now.

“All of them have clinical trials in process now to look at safety in children. The Pfizer vaccine is actually approved for 16 & up, so technically it’s covering our kids who are 16 and 17 but there are ongoing trials that are taking place right now to look at safety in children,” said Dr. Laura Arline, Chief Quality Officer of BayCare Health System.

Experts say there will likely be even more trials for kids in the coming months.

They say typically, companies will first research older children, and then the data for younger kids will follow.

“It may be too soon, let’s say for younger infants and younger children. Usually, we’ll get more information first in teens and then data from younger patients will be available,” said Rodriguez.

Experts say one of the reasons why getting a vaccine for kids approved is taking so long, is because it’s more difficult to find children to participate in these clinical trials.

“There is some logistics and also some other reasoning behind it. So for the current vaccines, the pediatric trials, we might not see what is being done in adults that requires a very large amount of people being enrolled,” said Rodriguez.

While doctors say parents will probably have to wait a little longer for a vaccine for younger kids, there is a proposed timeline for when all children may be able to get vaccinated.

“What I’m hearing, although, it’s not set in stone anywhere and certainly the timeline could be sooner than that, is somewhere in 2022 in terms of broad pediatric coverage but I think what we may find before that depending on what the trials show is that we may have a group of 12 and up that may be approved before then fingers crossed,” said Arline.