(CBS4) – A COVID-19 vaccine could be available for younger children as early as next month. Pfizer is collecting data for FDA emergency use authorization of its vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Colorado families in the vaccine trial at Children’s Hospital Colorado are well past their second dose.
The hospital said about 5,000 families wanted to take part, but they could only take 250.
9-year-old Daemo Gregory-Cradick jumped at the chance after discussing the trial with his parents.
“Our 13-year-old son was vaccinated also, and he had very few side effects. To me, the risk of getting COVID and so many unknown long term problems far outweighed the risks,” said Jane Gregory, Daemo’s mom. “We would never force him to do it if he didn’t feel comfortable. We talked about it before and Children’s made sure he was consenting and understanding.”
Every child who took park in the trial didn’t get the vaccine. Some were given a placebo. It’s a double-blind study, so neither Daemo nor the physicians behind the study know which group he is in. Daemo says his experience couldn’t have gone better.
“The shot didn’t hurt at all. There was no swelling and there was no soreness,” said Daemo. “It’s not all that scary. I know so many people in my class who are afraid of shots and needles.”
Before the FDA can grant emergency use authorization for this age group, they have to know how much vaccine produces an immune response.
“The primary goal of these vaccine trials is really to get the immune level. The secondary goal is to look at effectiveness,” said said Dr. Eric Simões, the leading the trial at Children’s Hospital Colorado. “We do blood draws at the times that are required. Those blood draws are the blood draws that are going to look at the antibody levels before and after they got the vaccine.”
Simões says the children who received the vaccine in this trial received a dose a third of the size that adults and older children receive – just 10 micrograms.
“They can have pain and swelling, but that happens with all vaccines. We didn’t notice anything uncovered amongst our participants,” said Simões. “I couldn’t tell you the results yet, but I’m fairly confident that these vaccines work pretty well.”
Daemo will find out in a few weeks if he received the vaccine, but so far, he hasn’t gotten COVID-19. He says he’s proud to do his part to help keep other children healthy.
“So many people have died and it’s so sad. The fact that I could help get a vaccine out sooner and maybe save hundreds or thousands of lives meant so much to me,” said Daemo.
Over the course of the next 2 years, participants will have several planned visits as part of this research study.