JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research, which helped Pfizer and Moderna conduct trials for their COVID-19 vaccines for adults and older teenagers, is now shifting its attention toward children under the age of 16.
More than 95 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But those fully vaccinated individuals are either adults or teenagers at least 16 years old. Dr. Michael Koren, director of the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research, told News4Jax that as of now, there isn’t enough data to determine the effects of the vaccine on children under age 16.
“So there’s now a big push to look at children and how the vaccine will be tolerated in very, very young people and hopefully get over this pandemic,” Koren said.
The Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research is now doing Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials on children as young as 12. So far, adult trials are sowing an 89% efficacy against COVID-19. If data from the juvenile trials look promising without any complications, trials on infants as old as 6 months could eventually be conducted.
“We’ve gotten literally scored of phone calls from people who want their children vaccinated -- interestingly, mostly physicians,” Koren said. “We have many physician colleagues that are clamoring to get their kids vaccinated.”
But there is also a population of parents who are against vaccinations in general.
“So parents will have to decide if they want to take the risk of COVID-19 or if they want to get their kids vaccinated,” Koren said. “But there are kids that get really, really sick, and there are kids that don’t get that sick, but they transmit the virus to other vulnerable people.”
Researchers at the Jacksonville Center for Clinical Research are currently enrolling children to take part in the trials. Some participants will get the actual vaccine and some will get a placebo.