COLORADO SPRINGS — A COVID-19 vaccine for children 11-years-old or younger has yet to be approved, but vaccine trials have begun at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
“We are one of 80 sites enrolling around this trial all around the country,” said Dr. Eric Simoes, head of the vaccine study.
The hospital has recruited a group of – what they deem to be – healthy children between five and 11 years old.
Within a span of three weeks, each child will receive two doses of the Pfizer vaccine or a placebo. Their parents will be responsible for monitoring any side effects. After six months, participants and families will learn if they received a placebo and, if so, will be given the opportunity to receive the vaccine.
“Don’t count on herd immunity to protect you, this virus is completely different from most of other viruses,” said Simoes. “It’s evolving.”
Doctors say they’re worried about mutations since children tend to spread the virus faster.
“The virus didn’t appear to spread much in children – certainly in younger children. We knew that as children get older, they spread the virus better and better,” said Simoes.
In Colorado, more than 2.6 million people have been fully vaccinated. However, earlier this week, the state said the majority of covid-19 patients in the hospital were unvaccinated.
“Hence the urgency to vaccinate children,” said Simoes. “The disease may be milder, but the virus is going to transmit, if more children get infected. Because that’s where it’s going to spread. You’re going to see an uptick in disease and it’s going to be more severe.”