WASHINGTON, D.C. — While COVID-19 vaccines now reach most the country, one group isn’t part of the rollout equation yet: children.
But that’s starting to change.
“It's a family and a parent decision, and it’s not the right thing for every parent,” said Dr. James Campbell with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a principal investigator for a clinical trial now underway involving more than 6,700 kids and the Moderna COVID vaccine.
At their Baltimore vaccine trial site, they had just 150 slots for children, but they received thousands of inquiries from parents trying to enroll their children.
“I think the reason why we have had such an outpouring, so many families wanting to be in the study, is because of the success of the vaccine so far in adults,” Dr. Campbell said.
One of those families is the Mugeras, who were able to enroll their 8-year-old son, Christian.
“We thought about it and then we, for me, was a no-brainer,” said his dad, Dr. Charles Mugera.
The Mugeras aren’t just parents, they’re also doctors themselves. They carefully reviewed information about the study beforehand and thentalked to their kids about it.
“I think for the children, ultimately, what was the most appealing to them was the fact that they got their life back,” Dr. Mugera said.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial is for children under the age of 12, who are then broken down into three age groups:
- 6 to 11 years old
- 2 to 5 years old
- 6 to 20 months old
The groups get vaccines varying in strength from a full adult dose to a half dose. Parents need to keep an electronic daily diary of any symptoms and commit to one year of follow-ups either by phone or in person.
So far, Dr. Charles Mugera’s son only experienced some initial soreness in his arm from his first full dose of the shot.
“It's going to change the game completely, especially if we get the children vaccinated,” he said. “This is going to save millions and millions of lives.”
It marks one more front in the war against COVID-19.