MUSC selected to participate in Moderna vaccine trial for kids

VIDEO: MUSC selected to participate in Moderna vaccine trial for kids

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - As more people are getting vaccinated, the call to vaccinate kids is growing especially as more and more return to face-to-face learning.

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s infectious disease expert, children as young as first graders may be able to get the coronavirus vaccine by the time school starts in September, presuming trials are successful in those age groups.

MUSC is leading one of those pediatric trials here in the Lowcountry.

“So, we were really just approached and found out this week that we’ve been selected to do a COVID-19 vaccine trial in a specific age group of children that, otherwise, would have no chance of getting the vaccines,” said Dr. Andy Atz, MUSC’s Chair for the Department of Pediatrics.

Children make up 25% of the population in the United States and we’ve heard talk about achieving that herd immunity. But, Atz explains that is hard to do when a quarter of the population has no opportunity to get vaccinated.

A reason, he says, this trial is so important.

“I have done a lot of clinical trials over the last 20 years that I’ve been at MUSC and this will be the fastest that we have launched something,” Atz says. “But, it’s arguably the most important trial that we’ve ever done as well.”

MUSC is one of about 100 pediatric centered sites across the world chosen to help with the study. In total, about 6,500 kids will be enrolled in the trial across all sites.

“We hope to offer this opportunity to as many children in the Lowcountry as we can,” Atz says.

“In a pediatric study, what you are required to look at is – what’s the safety, are there any other different safety signals in kids and does the dosing need to be different?” said Dr. Patrick Flume, a Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics at MUSC.

This trial is aimed to show the vaccine is effective and safe in kids. The trial will target children between the ages of six months and 12 years.

In the first phase of the trial, which is about the first 10% of all patients, Atz says the goal is to figure out what the right dose is. So every child in that first phase will get some dosage of the vaccine itself.

“Then, when the dose is ultimately determined, there’ll be a three to one ratio, meaning that of all of the participants that sign up, 75% of them will get the true vaccine and 25% will get the placebo,” Atz explains. “It’s fairly advantageous, your chances of getting the real vaccine are really quite good.”

Atz said this trial is on the fast track and the hope is to start vaccinating children here in the Lowcountry by the middle of March.

If you are interested in the Moderna pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trial, you can email the team in charge: pctg-group@musc.edu

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