OMAHA, Neb. — A recent clinical trial found that the Pfizer vaccine is possibly 100 percent effective in children 12 to 15-years-old. And while more review and approval are needed before that age group is vaccinated possibly before the next school year, Children's Hospital in Omaha is jumping on the opportunity to help with an extension of that same trial.
The hospital is the only medical system in the state taking part in the trial, which is studying how effective the Pfizer vaccine is in children 6 months to 11-years-old.
Fifty children will be involved in the trial at Children's and nationally the trial will include thousands of children.
"We certainly could enroll more than 50, we've had incredible positive response and interest from parents in getting their children enrolled, but unfortunately we're only approved for 50 spots," said Dr. Ann Anderson Berry, Executive Director of the Child Health Research Institute with Children's Hospital & UNMC.
Enrollment will begin in late May and early June. Results of that trial could be available as soon as this fall, with vaccinations possibly beginning for anyone over 6-months-old come winter of 2021.
Vaccinations for all children would be a game-changer for schools.
"I mean our ultimate concern is that everybody's safe in school. Getting educators vaccinated was only one part of that, ultimately we need herd immunity in the community for us to really put the major concerns to rest with the pandemic," said Millard Education Association President Tim Royers.
Dr. Anderson Berry says that full herd immunity cannot be reached without vaccinating children as they are silent spreaders of the virus.
“They can spread it to the elderly and to unvaccinated people and so it is incredibly important to get this large segment of our population vaccinated," she said.
The hospital is also involved in a trial to track the vaccine's effectiveness in pregnant women in their third trimester and newborns. They expect the results of that trial in the winter of 2021.