Pfizer Vaccine Being Tested on Kids as Young as 6 Months Old to See If It’s Safe

Pfizer’s COVID vaccine is expected to be available soon to children ages 12 to 15. Researchers are now currently testing the vaccine in kids as young as 6 months old to see if it’s safe and effective.

Pfizervaccine PicEloise Lacour is among the first children under 5 to receive both shots. The three-year-old is part of a study testing Pfizer’s vaccine on children six months to 12 years old. Her mom, Dr. Angelica Lacour, says, “Whatever we can do to protect her, even though chances are she’d be totally fine if she caught the virus, we don’t know what the long-term effects are.”

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado leads the research at Stanford University School of Medicine. She says they plan to enroll a few thousand children to see if the vaccine is safe and effective. For younger children, they are currently working to find the right dose. “What doses are the lowest doses that produce the best immune response with the least side effects,” Dr. Maldonado says.

Getting parents on board may be a challenge. A recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation COVID-19 Monitor shows less than a third of U.S. parents with children ages 12 to 15 say they’ll get them vaccinated right away.

Children now make up about 25% of COVID-19 infections and that number is growing. Kids are less likely to have severe COVID, but Dr. Maldonado says thousands have been hospitalized, so it’s critical they get the shot. “It’s clearly a disease that, while the numbers look small, they are still important,” Dr. Maldonado says. “People under 18 make up over 20% of the U.S. population. And if we want to reach herd immunity, it is going to be important to tap in to that population as well,” she adds.

Eloise’s parents say they discussed the study in detail with her. “We talk a lot about how she’s been very brave to participate in the trial. And the vaccine is something that will help her body be strong to fight against the virus,” Dr. Lacour says.

Researchers say data shows the immune response in 12 to 15 year olds was not only as good as adults but better. They also expect side effects would be similar in all age groups, typically low grade fevers and flu like symptoms.

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