COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids 12 and under still going strong in Rochester

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — This week, the FDA announced it wants more young children under the age of 12 in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.

Doctors had hoped to have it authorized before the school year starts, but they say now that’s unlikely.

Trials at Rochester Clinical Research have been ongoing since March and as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise before the start of school, doctors say these trials are critical for kids and students to continue school knowing they are protected.

“The time frame now with school starting in five to six weeks I don’t believe we will have a vaccine yet approved,” principal investigator for the study Dr. Janet Casey said as they continue to conduct their pediatric Pfizer vaccine trial for kids 6 months to 11 year’s old.

They hope that approval will come for school-age kids by sometime this fall.

“Obviously we all hoped to have a vaccine available for kids prior to school starting but we have to make sure that we conduct the trials appropriately with the correct time course and we’re not going to rush anything,” Casey said.

So far more than 60 children have been enrolled. Casey said phase one of the trial that started out in March figuring out the right doses for kids and now they’re in phase two and three.

“Children are tough as nails and super resilient and they are tolerating the vaccines very well. We’re seeing some typical side effects that we see from all vaccines so fever, muscle pain at the site of injection,” Casey said.

As for the growing delta variant, Casey said it’s not changing how they conduct the trial.

“We know from the studies with the adults that the Pfizer vaccine provides really good coverage for the delta variant,” Casey said.

Casey said she knows some parents are hesitant to get their children vaccinated, but says it’s key to put the pandemic to an end.

“They constitute 25% of our population and if we’re going to reach herd immunity with our vaccines we got to vaccinate our kids,” Casey said.

Dr. Casey says they are still enrolling kids between ages 6 months to 4 years old.

They are also currently enrolling for COVID-19 vaccine booster studies. For more info on how to sign up, click here.