CINCINNATI — Vaccine trials in children as young as five years old are underway this week in Southwest Ohio.
Cincinnati Children’s is now testing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in children between the ages of five and 11, with a focus currently on getting the dosage right.
“Just to get an idea of what dose is the right one for younger children,” said Dr. Robert Frenck, Director of Cincinnati Children’s’ Center for Vaccine Research.
So far this week, researchers in Cincinnati have given the Pfizer vaccine to just five children age five to 11 as part of these trials, with plans to keep the trial group small at the outset. Three other sites nationally are conducting the same trial on this age group.
“Things have been going great so far, I talked to my colleagues at different sites and their kids are doing well, too,”Frenck said.
These latest vaccine trials in children come as Pfizer reported its vaccine was safe and 100 percent effective on adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15; with the company announcing its intention to seek FDA emergency use authorization on the virus for that age group in the coming weeks. Currently, Pfizer’s vaccine has received emergency use authorization for teens as young as 16, with vaccines for Moderna and Johnson and Johnson only getting approval for adults 18 and up to date.
Frenck said going forward, the plan is to establish a dosage for the age five to 11 age group – with tests initially including smaller vaccine doses than what is given to adults – then conduct small group trials on children between the ages of two and four.
After that, the trials would expand to larger groups of children.
“We’re not cutting corners, we’re not rushing things,” Frenck said. “Safety is our number one concern and since we’ve had such good results in the adults and adolescents, that’s what’s allowed us to then start testing in children.”
While older teenagers could be eligible for the vaccine within a matter of weeks, depending on the approval process, Frenck estimates children age five to 11 could be getting the vaccine as early as this fall, if all goes well.
Parents and guardians interested in enrolling their children in vaccine trials at Cincinnati Children’s can sign up at this link: https://redcap.research.cchmc.org/surveys/index.php?s=FTW4CTWRCR
However, not everyone who signs up will be able to participate in these trials, which have limited capacity.