Children being tested for COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 10:12 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - There is still a lot to be known about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines on children. Testing for them is underway.

As of Thursday, children up to 19 years old represented 1.61% of the reported cases in Nebraska.

A local researcher is looking into whether children should get the vaccine.

6 News talked to Grace and Isaac Williams and their father Nate. The family is focused on battling the pandemic.

Nate is a participant for Pfizer’s Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial. He said, “I just thought it was something I could do and I didn’t really see any other alternative out of this whole situation without a vaccine.”

Grace and Isaac are participating in Pfizer’s adolescent vaccine trial.

Grace said, “I just thought like if I can do something that can help them and push this thing forward then I would love to be a part of that.”

They are taking part in a study that is enrolling up to 2,600 children nationwide between 12 and 18.

Meridien Clinical Research in Omaha is one of five pediatric test sites.

Dr. Brandon Essink is medical director. He said, “They’re at the age group where you start to see a little more worsening of symptoms with the Coronavirus.”

Dr. Essink said while the age group may not see a high rate of infections, they can become key spreaders. “Will vaccinating the group help to stop a pandemic, that’s another question why we want to look into this a little bit further,” he said.

So far in Omaha, the study involves about 20 teens. About half received a placebo and others received the actual vaccine.

Testing adolescents is a critical step in establishing her community but safety concerns have been raised over children and such a new vaccine.

Pfizer reported about 10% of the participants showed mild side effects. The majority showed none.

Other than a sore arm, Nate saw no side effects when he was involved in the test. It has been pretty much the same for Isaac and Grace.

When the study ends next week, the children will get their second dose.

Meridien is still looking for volunteers.

Grace did end up getting the virus. Her father believes this means she received the placebo during the tests.

They will know after the study is complete.

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