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COVID-19 vaccine trials underway for adults, not yet for children

Posted at 6:40 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 19:48:49-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Researchers are racing to find an effective COVID-19 vaccine for adults.

States have been asked to prepare for vaccine distribution as early as November. The first vaccines will go to people working on the front lines and vulnerable populations.

The late-stage trials we're hearing about now are only for adults.

But, they have an obligation to the FDA to study the vaccine in children.

“I know from some personal conversations with vaccine companies that there is absolute interest,” said Dr. Russell McCulloh of Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. “There is work on those pediatric clinical trials but it’s a step after a large portion of the adult trial is done.”

Dr. McCulloh said, based on his experience with working on other pediatric vaccines, trials will focus on finding the right dosage for kids and any side effects not seen in adults.

“Kids’ bodies are not the same as adults' bodies in terms of how their immune system may respond to things and how medications may break down and get distributed in the body or interact,” Dr. McCulloh said.

In an article recently published in the journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Dr. Evan Anderson said pediatric studies should be conducted at the same time as adult studies.

"Without a COVID-19 vaccine, children will likely serve as a reservoir, which would undermine efforts to end the pandemic. Until all children can more safely return to school and parents can return to full-time work, it is difficult to imagine that the economy can completely recover," Dr. Anderson said.

Dr. McCulloh predicts we will not have enough herd immunity by next school year to be back to normal.

“Wear your mask, socially distance, hand washing, symptom screening so you are not coming to school when you shouldn’t be,” Dr. McCulloh said. “I don’t think those recommendations are going to be gone for next school year.”

He thinks we will see clinical trials in children beginning after the first of the year at the earliest.

If you're interested in finding out when local research opportunities are available for kids, you can sign up for the Nebraska Pediatric Research Registry.