UVA infectious disease expert: clinical trials underway for kids, school likely in-person in fall 2021

UVA infectious disease expert: clinical trials underway for kids, school likely in-person in fall 2021
UVA Health (FILE)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - While some adults have already started taking the COVID-19 vaccine, trials are underway for adolescents. As a result, kids will not be among the first to receive the vaccine.

”Clinical trials always start with adults because adults can agree to be in a study. A child really cannot understand well enough to consent to be in a study,” UVA Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. William Petri said.

There are clinical trials for children aged 12 to 18 happening now, meaning a vaccine for kids will be delayed but not as long as you may think.

“They should move along fairly quickly, and so I would envision that there will be an application into the FDA to get emergency use authorization for adolescents probably like late winter early spring,” Petri said.

Petri said younger children aged 2 to 11 will have to wait longer: “Those studies have not started at all, so that’ll be a bit further down the road,” he said.

Right now, healthcare workers across the country are being vaccinated for the coronavirus and then distribution will begin for more vulnerable populations. Healthy people who are not frontline workers will likely be vaccinated in the spring and summer.

“Some of the side effects are going to be more pronounced with this vaccine than with the flu, and so it’s about half of people with the second dose are going to notice some low grade fever or muscle aches,” Petri said.

Parents currently homeschooling children, be aware, Dr. Petri is confident students will be able to return to school in-person in the fall of 2021.

“We’ll get most adults vaccinated by this summer and I believe that that will break the back of this pandemic, that we’ll no longer be in the extraordinary situation we’re in right now,” he said.

Petri also says children will also need two shots for both the Pzifer and Moderna vaccines once they’re approved to take them.

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