Local pediatricians discuss COVID-19 vaccine trials for children

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — With discussion about some Clark County School District students possibly returning to the classroom in the coming months, there are questions concerning whether children should be vaccinated, too.

The current vaccines are only for adults, however, medical experts are now looking into how the vaccine affects children.

For weeks, pediatric specialists and organizations have called for children to be included in more rigorous studies of the COVID-19 vaccine. They say this is a critical step in stopping the spread of the virus.

“I need to be able to look a parent in the eye and go, ‘I’m comfortable that this is a safe vaccine, and it’s going to be effective,'” said Dr. Bruce Morgenstern, senior executive dean for clinical affairs at Roseman University. “Without studies of children, that’s very hard to do.”

In October, the Food and Drug Administration gave Pfizer permission to enroll adolescents as young as 12 into its clinical trial. As of Monday, nearly 700 adolescents ages 12 through 15 have taken part in that study.

This month, Moderna announced it plans to recruit 3,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 for its trial.

“It’s critical that children are in the vaccine trials so that we can test it in a diverse group of children and monitor their immune response and make sure that the vaccine is safe and effective,” explained Dr. Pamela Greenspon, pediatrician at Desert Valley Pediatrics and president of the Nevada Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The trials are currently in the very early stages, so it’s difficult for pediatricians to say when this vaccine could be approved. When that time comes, they will have more information on the impacts of the vaccine.

“By the time we really have a pediatric vaccine, whether it’s actually the same vaccine in the same dose or a slightly modified dose, we will know what the side effects and long term side effects, middle term effects, I guess I would say, of either the Pfizer or the Moderna-based vaccines are,” said Morgenstern.

In the meantime, doctors are urging families to continue to wear masks, social distance and wash hands frequently. They say while children are not at a higher risk of infection, they can still get the virus and spread it to others.

For Pfizer’s statement on including children in trials and answers to frequently asked questions, click here. For more on the trial itself, click here.

For information on the Moderna trial, click here.

You can find the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on the importance of including children here.

CCSD families can find information on cases in the district here.

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