As Americans continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccines, doctors in the Bay Area are hoping to extend that option to younger children as well. Stanford is launching a pediatric vaccine trial that will ultimately include kids as young as 6 months.
Zina Good has a full house these days. But as a cancer researcher at Stanford, she felt it was important to volunteer for the new pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trial — in part to inspire other families, but also to speed the process.
“I hope other families can participate in the trial so this vaccination is available as an authorized vaccine for all kids very soon,” she explains.
Children ages 5 to 12 years will receive the Pfizer vaccine in a phase 3 study. That’s to gather final data for a potential FDA authorization in that age group. But principal investigator Dr. Yvonne Maldonado says they’re also conducting earlier phase trials in younger children, ages 2 to 5 in one group, then eventually 6 months of age and up.
An important goal of those trials will be determining the optimal dosage.
“You want to work your way down in age and see whether the children as they get younger tolerate higher doses of the vaccine over time,” says Dr. Maldonado.
She says the trial is similar to the way researchers test a host of familiar childhood vaccines. And for participants, the experience won’t feel much different than going in to get a routine shot. But ultimately making the vaccine available to the country’s 85 million children could have a profound impact in the battle against COVID-19.
“That’s about a quarter, or a little under a quarter of our U.S. population. So it’s really important if we want to get herd immunity to include children,” she adds.
Especially with parents returning to work, and kids returning to school, daycare, and just being kids.
“It would be really difficult to completely evade getting exposed for little kids. So it’s really peace of mind to know they’re protected,” says Zina Good.
For Zina and her family, it’s an added sense of security and one she hopes other families will want to share.