Doctors: COVID vaccine clinical trials to begin testing children, teenagers in January


MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WBTW) – More than one million U.S. children have tested positive for COVID-19, but neither the Moderna nor Pfizer trials included people under 16.

Doctors expect vaccine trials to start testing children and teenagers in January.

Until now, clinical trials have primarily focused on adult patients.

This week, doctors said trials would likely start with children 12 years and work their way down to younger age groups, according to infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Each company has a set of criteria, a certain number of enrolled patients in their control group, and their test group.

Whether conducting a trial for a new vaccine or medication, preliminary testing usually performs on adults, according to the Pediatric Medical Director of Tidelands Health, Dr. Lucretia Carter.

“First, the original vaccines were tested in older adults, so now it’s time to bring in the younger kids, specifically kids less than the age of 12, 12 and under,” Carter said.

Since younger children have different metabolisms, she says their body responds to drugs and medications differently. That why dialing in on the right dose for children could be a long process.

“Just like Tylenol, for instance, we all take a dose based on weight and even age. Whereas for an adult, it’s a certain milligram strength. So, it’s the same thing with vaccines. Sometimes kids will receive the same dose as adults, sometimes it’s different,” Dr. Carter said.

Carter says medical experts are following a similar routine practiced during other vaccine trials like the swine flu.

One concern with waiting on a vaccine for children comes as younger age groups report showing fewer symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus unknowingly.

“That’s what they will look at once a child receives a vaccine, is it truly reducing their rate of infection or is it reducing their rate of transmission or both,” Dr. Carter said.

Moderna posted a trial design that would include 3,000 patients 12 years and older.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said it would likely be months before older teenagers can get vaccinated.

It is unknown if a vaccine will be available to children before the 2021 school year.

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