PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – COVID-19 vaccines are on the minds of many parents.
“I definitely want one for toddlers,” says Caitlin Evans of Squirrel Hill.
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“They really need to be back with their peers, and the only way to really do that is to fully vaccinate people,” says Em Bennett of the North Side.
“I really want to have a vaccine for children. We signed up our son for a research study so hopefully he can get one, ”says Dan Jacko from Verona.
Moderna has started its vaccination trials on children.
“We get a lot of questions first from parents about whether the vaccine will be available to children, when it will be available to children, and whether they will have their child immunized,” says Dr. Joe Aracri from AHN Pediatric Allaince. “It all depends on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.”
Almost 7,000 children aged 6 months to 11 years will participate in the two-part study.
In the first part, researchers will figure out the best dose that is safe and effective for infants and children.
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In the second part, additional study participants receive the best dose or the best placebo.
“It’s important to make sure you’re getting the intended result of the vaccine,” says Dr. Aracri.
Then they will be followed for 12 months.
“They’ll look at how many of the kids get sick, how badly they get sick,” says Dr. Aracri. “These things take time.”
The Allegheny Health Network and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are not currently participating in the vaccine trials.
“It doesn’t seem like the children spread the virus as widely depending on their age, but they do contribute to herd immunity,” says Dr. Aracri.
“If we find that the vaccine is safe, which we think is likely, the benefits outweigh the risk,” he adds.
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Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have their own pediatric studies in the works. Currently, adults can get all COVID-19 vaccines under emergency clearance, although Pfizer’s is the only one approved for anyone aged 16 and over.