Physicians at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago are seeking participants for clinical trials designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of coronavirus vaccines in children under the age of 12.
This week, the hospital published a survey to its website seeking more information from the parents of potential participants in the study, which is expected to take place later this year.
According to the hospital’s website, not all individuals who fill out the survey, which can be found here, will be selected to participate in the trial. Instead, the survey will be used to collect a list of potential participants, which will then be evaluated by the researchers as they construct the group of individuals that will take part in the study.
The trials for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are expected to start enrollment within 3-to-6 weeks, according to hospital officials. The studies are expected to take 3-to-4 months to complete, and will require several months for researchers to evaluate and pore over data before it can be reviewed by the FDA.
After that, it is expected that vaccines could be approved for children by the fall or winter, according to officials.
Currently, the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer is authorized in individuals age 16 or older, , while Moderna's vaccine is approved for those 18 and older. Various trials are currently underway to determine whether children under those ages can safely use the vaccine.
According to Dr. William Muller, the attending physician in the hospital's Infectious Diseases department, the approval for the vaccine would likely take place in segments, starting with children between the ages of 6 and 12. After that, progressively younger children would likely be approved for the treatment.
“Pediatric studies are very challenging relatively to adult studies in the sense that you have to progressively go to younger and younger age groups and often times you have to start at a very low doses and increase them,” Muller explained in a statement. “They’re trying to balance the potential side effects of the vaccines with the benefits of the vaccines. Although we anticipate that children will likely respond similar to adults in terms of generating an immune response. We don’t know if they need as much of the vaccine as adults need to get to that level.”