In this photo provided by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, clinical research coordinator Tammy Lewis-McCauley administers an injection to high school junior Katelyn Evans, a trial participant, as part of the hospital’s clinical trial of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. (Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center via AP)

Children are the next frontier for COVID vaccine clinical trials

in Health

Twelve-year-olds are tween-agers, staring down puberty and middle school, surprisingly mature one minute and tortured by angst the next.

Some also are scientific pioneers, volunteering for clinical trials to test COVID vaccines in children. Slowly and gingerly, researchers are testing COVID-19 vaccines in younger and younger kids — even as millions of doses are pushed into the arms of their parents — with an eye toward FDA approval in the next year or two.

“People try to minimize how sick kids get with COVID, but that’s a mistake,” said Brigham C. Willis, senior associate dean for medical education and professor of pediatrics at UC Riverside’s School of Medicine. “I work intensive pediatric care, and there’s a minority who get extremely ill. There are some deaths. It’s not a non-entity.

“And even though a large majority of kids won’t get extremely ill, they can still contract and spread it. To get control of the pandemic, you have to vaccinate both adults and children.”

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