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Henrico research company launches COVID vaccine trial for 6-month to 11-year-olds

Published: May. 24, 2022 at 7:25 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - As families across the country wait for the official approval of the COVID vaccine authorization for use in children five and younger, a Henrico based medical company Clinical Research Partners (CRP), has launched a clinical trial that aims to study the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in children between six months and 11 years old.

Doctors at CRP say the study is necessary to determine COVID vaccines’ effectiveness for populations that may not yet be exposed to COVID-19.

“We want to make sure that we are getting the dose right, getting the scheduling right, the space between the vaccines, and making sure these safe vaccines confer immunity long-term,” Epidemiologist Bo Vaughan said. “We can’t really get to the bottom of those answers without a well-designed clinical trial.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics says the number of new infections is up 72% from two weeks ago. It’s why parents like William Bailey allowed his 8-year-old son, Auggie, to participate in the trial. He believes participants in this age are helping to push science forward.

“I think we all know at this point that the younger kids have less risk, but that doesn’t mean they have no risk,” Bailey said.

“My experience was surprisingly good,” Auggie said. “I think that they should probably participate if they can because it would really help protect them and other people.”

Pediatricians at CRP like Richard Bennet believe researching this age group could be crucial to ensuring schools can stay open.

“It’s easy to open a school, open a daycare, open a JK, it’s hard to keep it open. With the vaccine, I’m hoping we can keep the schools, daycares, junior kindergarten, high schools - keep them open because the kids will be vaccinated, and we can stop the spread of COVID,” Richard said. “I wouldn’t do anything to another child that I wouldn’t do for my own.”

Participants in the study could receive either an mRNA vaccine like the ones offered by Pfizer or Moderna or a traditional vaccine that works by injecting a protein of the virus itself into your body that your immune system will produce antibodies.

CRP says they are looking for at least 1,000 participants for the study who would be monitored for 15 months to determine the effectiveness and how to mitigate possible side effects.

“The more we have, the better the power of the study, which means that is how it will appear in the general population, and so, the more volunteers that we can get, the stronger it will be and the faster we can get Richmond vaccinated,” Bennet said.

“We need to run these trials to answer those really important clinical questions before we even consider giving a recommendation for everybody to get the vaccine at this age group,” Vaughan said.

CRP says volunteers will be compensated for time and travel and eligible for the vaccine even if they’ve had COVID in the past. CRP says participants enrolled in the study will have 24/7 access to medical staff and if COVID symptom develops will get tested and receive follow-up treatment for free.

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