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Shots in small hands. COVID-19 vaccine is tested in children

The 9-year-old twins were not depressed as they each received test doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and then a spark bandage to cover the spot.

“Sparks make everything better,” said Marisol Erardo as she jumped off a Duke University desk to make way for her sister Alejandra.

In the United States, researchers abroad are testing younger children to make sure the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for all ages. The first shots are for adults, who are most at risk for the coronavirus, but the end of the epidemic will require vaccination of children.

“The kids have to shoot,” Marisol told the Associated Press this week after the sisters participated in a new study of Pfizer children under 12 years old. “To make things a little more normal.” She is looking forward to sleeping with friends again.

So far, teen testing in the United States is the most remote. Pfizer և Moderna expects to release results soon showing how their two doses of the vaccine were administered in a 12 և larger population. Pfizer is currently available for use from the age of 16. Moderna is for people 18 18: older.

But younger children may need different doses than teens and adults. Moderna recently launched a study similar to the new Pfizer test, as both companies catch the right dose of each shot for each age group as they work to finally vaccinate 6-month-olds.

Last month in the UK, AstraZeneca began researching its vaccine in adolescents aged 6 to 17 years. Johnson & Johnson is planning its pediatric research. In China, Sinovac recently announced that it had provided preliminary data to Chinese regulators that its vaccine was safe for children as young as 3 years old.

This data is possible for all common vaccines, as countries must vaccinate children to gain herd immunity, said Duke Emanuel Chip Walter, Duke Duke’s pediatric vaccine specialist, who is helping lead the Pfizer study.

Most COVID-19 vaccines used worldwide have been studied for the first time in tens of thousands of adults. Studies on children should not be almost so big. Researchers have safety data from these studies ներից from the subsequent vaccinations of millions of adults.

And because the infection rate of children is very low. They account for about 13% of all COVID-19 reported cases in the United States, and the main focus of pediatric research is not counting the number of illnesses. Instead, researchers are measuring whether the vaccines regenerate the immune system of adolescents, like many adults, by suggesting that they offer similar protections.

More about the COVID-19 epidemic

Proof of this is possible because although children are much less likely than adults to become seriously ill, at least 268 have died from COVID-19 in the United States alone, and more than 13,500 have been hospitalized, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. : That’s more than average death from the flu in a year. In addition, a small number have developed a serious inflammatory condition associated with the coronavirus.

In addition to their health risks, there are still questions about how easily children can spread the virus, which complicates efforts to reopen schools.

Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fausin, the top U.S. infectious disease specialist, told Congress he expected high school students to be vaccinated in the fall. According to him, elementary school students may not have the right until the beginning of 2022.

In North Carolina, Marisol and Alejandra volunteered to choose their parents after their parents explained the possibility, says their mother, Dr. Susanna Nagy, Duke Duke infectious disease specialist. Long before the epidemic, she and her husband, Dr. Charles Erardo, an ambulance doctor, regularly discussed their own research projects with the girls.

In the first phase of the Pfizer study, a small number of children received different doses of the vaccine, as in the next phase, scientists determined the best dose for several thousand children.

“We really trust the research process, we understand that they can get a dose that does not work at all, but may have side effects,” said Nagy, describing the decisions that parents face when enrolling their children.

But 9-year-olds have some idea of ​​the devastation of the epidemic: “It’s nice to be involved in something where it’s not just about you, it’s about learning,” Nagy added. “They really care about others. I think this is something they really liked about their home.”

For Marisol, the only part that was “a little nerve-wracking and scary” was giving a blood sample first.

The vaccine itself was “very easy.” “If you are just sitting during the shooting, it will just be clear,” he said.


The Associated Press Health Science Department is supported by the Science Education Department of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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