FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – Pfizer announced Tuesday that they’ve initiated Phase 2/3 of their study to evaluate the COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11.
And Kaiser Permanente says 75 of their patients in Northern California are participating in the trial.
“I wanted to make sure it was safe for people my age to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” said 11-year-old Luci Guardino, who is participating in the trial.
Like for many kids throughout the U.S., Guardino said distance learning has not been easy.
“Distance learning for me is very difficult because you get distracted a lot easier,” Guardino said.
The simple things many took for granted are now reasons for why Guardino decided to participate in the trial.
“Like going to the movies or eating indoors, having friends over and I definitely wanted to join the study to help ensure we get back to normal life,” Guardino said.
Five to 11-year-olds are receiving a lower dosage than adults. Two-thirds of the participants receive the vaccine and 1/3 receive a placebo.
“I think getting our kids vaccinated and allowing them to experience that same reassurance when they’re going to school, going to camp, doing things with their friends or doing sports, visiting family, is a wonderful thing,” said Dr. Stephanie Yee-Guardino, Luci’s mother.
Health experts say these trials are important because even children can get sick from COVID-19.
“There is something called MIS-C, which is a very severe disease that can really impact children, and that usually happens a couple of weeks after getting COVID,” said Dr. Nicola Klein, the principal investigator for the trial with Kaiser in Northern California. “It’s essentially many organs that are inflamed and children can get very ill.”
According to the state, 537 cases of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, have been identified in California.
A spokesperson with Valley Children’s Hospital says they’ve cared for 95 cases.
If the vaccine proves to be safe and effective, Pfizer said they hope to submit the vaccine for emergency use authorization for children 5 to 11 years old and then for 6 months to 5 years old soon after.