Study underway to test effectiveness of adjusted Pfizer vaccine doses in children below 12

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 11:18 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - According to the Virginia Department of Health, the Pfizer vaccine could be approved for use in children aged 12 to 15 as early as next week, but The Virginia Research Center is getting ready to start a new study that would test the effectiveness of lower vaccine doses in kids below the age of 12.

“This is actually asking a couple of different questions. One of the questions is can we use lower doses in kids and have it be as effective?” Dr. Aaron Hartman said.

Hartman is a researcher with the Virginia Research Center in Midlothian which will be conducting the study in two weeks. The experts say after two doses, the vaccine is 95% effective in adults, as well as kids aged 16 to 17 years old. The question the Virginia Research Center is trying to answer with the study is to see if smaller doses in children could yield the same results.

The target group for this study would be kids aged 5 to 11 years old. Hartman says researchers would be studying the effects of vaccines with adjusted doses based on the child’s age and weight.

“We don’t assume that it works in a 16-year-old the same way it will work in a 6-year-old. The fact that we’re doing the study is a way to prove that it’s safe and effective,” Hartman said. “We’re not really trying to prevent kids from dying from COVID because the rate of death is already so low, were trying to prevent kids from being a vector for spread.”

The VDH says youth vaccination will be essential for safe school reopening come by fall. Hartman says the hope for this study is to provide even more data to help in these efforts.

“Everybody is like how can we go back to feeling safe in school, feeling safe in public... that’s been the biggest motivating factor I’ve seen with children involved with the Pfizer vaccine study at our site here in Richmond,” Hartman said. “Pfizer wants to make this study look like America; they’re looking for diversity in age groups, diversity in genders as well as ethnicity because they want this data to show safety and efficacy in all groups.”

If you would like to participate in the study you are asked to call 804-893-CARE.

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