JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – UF Health Jacksonville is part of Moderna’s clinical trials to make coronavirus vaccines available to the youngest children in the U.S. The trial, underway right now, is to determine if the vaccine is safe and effective younger than age 2.
The first children taking part in the UF Health Jacksonville trial were immunized Tuesday. It is a group of four. They will be followed for a year to see how well they are protected against COVID-19, its variants and whether or not there are any side effects.
Throughout the trial, some in the group will get the actual vaccine, others a placebo. It is the same protocol that is employed with all the coronavirus vaccine trials.
“We are excited to be the only place in North Florida to offer to children less than 2 years of age,” said Dr. Mobeen Rathore, a Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunology specialist at UF Health Jacksonville. “I think this is a significant step forward to make sure that all children are able to get the vaccines so we can all resume, children can resume normal lives. This is very exciting for us and we’re very proud to be able to do this our community.”
Rathore expects the clinical trials, being conducted here and elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world, to yield results by fall.
“I suspect that the data will be completed and gathered probably in the fall,” said Rathore. “And, I suspect that for children less than two years of age it will be probably until the end of the year or next year until this vaccine is approved.”
“Don’t forget, we hope this vaccine is also approved for children 6 years and older in the near future (and) before kids get back to school,” Rathore added.
Rathore expects some parents to be hesitant to have their children immunized against COVID-19. The same type of resistance that’s seen in the adult population. But adds the majority see vaccinations as routine.
“Well, I think parents are used to getting their kids vaccinated and there will be some that are skeptical, but from the response we have had from our studies we have people emailing us and asking if their children can be enrolled in the study, and I hope that most parents will immunize their children because as parents we all want to protect our children,” said Rathore. “This is the best thing we can do to protect our children. Yes, I expect some hesitancy, but I think by and large parents will immunize their children and be advocates for them.”
For those who have worries, he says vaccines have a track record of being safe and effective and urges parents not to hesitate.
“I think it is important to understand that millions of vaccines have been given all over the world and vaccines have shown to not have any significant adverse effects, said Rathore. “Now, there is always going to be some issues or rare side effects. But don’t forget, the issues you see with the vaccine are much smaller than you will see with the actual disease.”
If you are interested in enrolling your child in the study, you can call 904-427-2673. Text 904-309-1303 or email: COVIDstudies@jax.UFL.edu