Pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trials see delay due to need for more participants

Local trials are still enrolling participants
AM Amelia- COVID Vax Trial for Young Kids.transfer_frame_22.jpeg
Posted at 6:15 AM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 07:42:04-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s been more than a year since adults first had the option to get their COVID-19 vaccines, but around 18 million children under the age of five are still waiting.

Experts said part of the delay is coming from needing more children to enroll in clinical trials for the vaccine.

Some of the trials are happening here in Music City at Clinical Research Associates. Hundreds of families have signed up to participate all hoping to make an impact and help progress the vaccine.

It’s still going to be some time before the shot gets the green light from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts believe parents and caregivers will probably have to wait until the summer.

Clinical Research Associates are continuing studies in the 6-month to 5-year-old age group for the three-dose Pfizer vaccine. They continue to look for more participants. There’s still not enough data to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness, according to both Pfizer and the FDA.

Medical Director Stephan Sharp said the only way to get more data is to continue enrolling new patients in the study.

“I don't know when along the way they might get to an endpoint and say, 'we’ve gotten enough data, we can close enrollment,'" he said. "They haven’t said anything to that effect at this point so I don't anticipate it happening in the next days or weeks.”

Parent Katie Boyle jumped on the opportunity to sign up her 2-year-old son in the local trials. Boyle said now that masks are optional in most areas she’s having to use more caution when going out with her son.

She felt called to sign him up in hopes he’d receive the vaccine ahead of time and be protected as the pandemic carried on. So far he’s been enrolled in the trial for more than five months and everything has been going well. Currently, she’s unsure if he received the placebo or the real shot, so she’s still using caution wherever she goes.

“On a personal level, I've been hoping he got the vaccine. So when it’s unblinded we’ll find that out, but in a bigger sense I hope we get one soon so we don’t have to worry about what COVID does to our kids," she said.

Anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 can sign up for the clinical study. There are a number of qualifications participants must pass. You can find details here or by calling Clinical Research Associates at 615-329-2222.