Finally, there’s some great news on the horizon in terms of containing the spread of COVID-19. Based on preliminary results from vaccine trials, Moderna’s vaccine is 94.5% effective and Pfizer’s is more than 90% effective, which means that vaccine distribution could be a reality in a matter of months. And as it turns out, kids as young as 12 have played a crucial role in gauging the efficacy and safety of these vaccines: by participating in vaccine trials.
Around 100 incredible kids have been doing some really important work (after school, of course!) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to help experts determine whether the Pfizer vaccine will be safe for kids. They deserve a round of applause. The trials for the Pfizer vaccine — which does not contain any active virus and thus cannot transmit COVID-19 — began testing on adults earlier this year before opening up the trials to kids, following safety guidelines. Mom Laurie Evans said that her whole family signed up to be a part of the Pfizer trial at the hospital, but only her 16-year-old daughter, Katelyn, was selected. Laurie said, “I trust the doctors and the nurses and scientists,” adding, “I hope other people will sign up to do it,” per ABC News.
Abhinav, who didn’t provide his last name, is another child who participated in the trial. He signed on to the trial after his dad, a physician named Sharat, safely participated in Phase 1 of the trial earlier this year. 12-year-old Abhinav said, “I think that the trial could actually help in not only protecting me but also other kids and other people,” adding, “I would also encourage other kids to take it.” COVID-19 is still surging across the country, with 138,025 new daily cases and 660 additional deaths reported by the CDC on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
While kids are more likely to experience milder symptoms of the virus, they are by no means immune to it. Over 1,000,000 American children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began and those numbers are only going to climb. Kids can still spread the virus to more vulnerable family members, like grandparents, folks who are immunocompromised, and/or over the age of 65, and can still die from the virus, as well. Until a vaccine (or vaccines?) are delivered, kids and adults still need to take safety precautions to help contain the spread of the virus. But the safety and success of the Pfizer and Moderna trials are great news for the whole family, thanks in part to the participation of kids like Abhinav and Katelyn.