With children as young as 12 now able to receive a coronavirus vaccine, trials are being conducted to gauge the safety of vaccines on younger children.
Moderna is progressing from the TeenCOVE trials — studying children aged 12-17 — into the KidCOVE trials, which incorporate children from 6 months to 11 years old. The lead investigator of UMass Medical School's COVID-19 vaccine trials wants to assure parents safety is their top priority.
"We're taking great care to be sure that these clinical trials are being conducted as rigorously as possible," said Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga of UMass Medical School.
That's why they're enrolling the KidCOVE trials this month, starting with children between the ages of 6 and 11. They will then move on to children as young as 2 before finally testing children as young as 6 months old.
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"In each of these age groups, we usually start with a lower dose of the vaccine," said Luzuriaga, "and then work our way up to a higher dose."
Luzuriaga and her UMass Medical School team will be among the researchers across the country to be monitoring trial participants for immune response, as well as the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, to determine the optimal dosage for each age group.
"The point of that part of the study is to find a dose that can then be evaluated in a randomized control trial," said Luzuriaga, "and that would be part two of the study."
More on the coronavirus vaccine and children
Some parents who spoke with NBC10 Boston were still hesitant to get their younger children vaccinated.
"I've weighed the risks of, like, what coronavirus does for children versus the risks of a vaccine that's not 100% FDA approved, I just think it's kind of a risky move," said parent Jacqueline Krasinski.
Other parents hope the trials ultimately give them confidence in the vaccine for their children.
"I'd kind of like to see the science prove out a little bit," said parent Charlie Shimkus.
"I'm very, very pro-vaccine, I just, whenever there's something new like that, I like to wait a little bit," parent Leila Hoit added.
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both moved to recommend Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine in children as young as 12. Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock assured parents Monday that the agency "undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data" before clearing it for use in adolescents.
The KidCOVE trials will be studying the Moderna vaccine in nearly 7,000 children under 12.