Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced plans to begin testing its coronavirus vaccine in the first experimental trial involving children. The initial test group, ages 16-17, will be vaccinated at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital this week. Enrollment for a younger test group, ages 12-15, will begin at other locations, which the company said has received FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approval.
The hospital’s research director, Dr. Robert Frenck, believes an effective vaccine for children and teens is “critical for getting Covid under control.” The FDA guidelines include testing potential vaccines on diverse groups which should also include Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and elderly people.
Dr. Frenck stated it’s important to remember children are not immune to the infectious disease and, although the death rate is much lower than that of adults, there have been over a half million positive coronavirus cases among children in the US. He further added, there is no way to predict which way the infection will go, saying “children can develop serious illness and also die,” as well as “spread it to other, more vulnerable people.”
Pfizer is one of four drug makers to have entered Phase 3 of their clinical trials which enrolled 38,000 volunteers with over 31,000 receiving the second of the two-dose shots. If their vaccine is proven to be safe and successful, the company plans to apply for emergency approval from the FDA by the third week in November, by its best estimation. If approved, they are prepared to produce 100 million doses by the end of this year and possibly up to 1.3 billion by the end of next year.
Ann Sullivan is a contributing staff writer covering national and world news topics. She brings dedicated experience having written international and domestic news, blogs, and web content for over 20 years. She’s also a published poet and graphic designer with degrees in Business and Graphic Communications and has been a music distributor, music industry sponsorship sales director and band manager.