NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Researchers said children under 12 could be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine in time for the holidays.
The FDA could give emergency approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in the next few weeks, and researchers said now is the time for parents to talk to their child’s pediatrician.
“I would suggest to parents, now is the time to begin those conversations with your pediatrician, to begin to think about the questions you might have, those things that you’ve ready about or heard about or that you’ve talked with friends about. Now is the time to talk to your pediatrician about those questions and start the dialogue about understanding how we can protect our children from this potentially devastating virus,” said Dr. Buddy Creech, Director of Vanderbilt’s Vaccine Research Program.
Creech is among the researchers conducting the trial for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for children. He said they know the vaccine is effective, they’re now looking to determine the right dose amount.
“We want to give that Goldilocks dose where it’s just enough to make an immune response, but not so much that it’s causing a lot of side effects, either in the site of the injection or in how children feel after the vaccine.”
Creech said side effects like shakiness, fever, chills and headaches are common.
The Sandwiths are among the families who have enrolled their child in the Moderna trial. Their 2-year-old, Caroline, got the vaccine this summer. Four-year-old Louise had leukemia and the Sandwiths said having everyone else in their family vaccinated gives them some peace of mind.
“It was just really important for us to kind of have that extra safety net, even though we’re still continuing to be very careful with where we go,” said Maggie Sandwith.
The Sandwiths said they also know the importance of families stepping up to participate in trials.
“The reason why they have success with being able to treat her (Louise) leukemia is because of people going through trials for those medications,” said Pierce Sandwith.
The Sandwiths said they understand the difficult decisions parents are making every day during the pandemic and hope the data from the trials helps them feel confident in their decision on vaccinating their child.
“Once they get the results of the trial, all that data out, it should hopefully cause those conversations with their pediatricians to be not only based on medical advice, but also hard data,” said Creech.
Pfizer’s version of a COVID-19 vaccine for kids under 12 is expected to be approved in the coming weeks. Creech said Moderna’s trials are taking a little longer in part because the two shots of the Moderna vaccine are given four weeks apart, compared to three. Moderna said it also recently expanded its clinical trials in an effort to detect any rare but serious side effects. The company has previously stated it doesn’t expect to apply for emergency authorization for a vaccine for young children until later in the year.