Vaccines for kids by Halloween? Duke trial researcher provides update on timeline


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Children ages 5-11 may be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in less than two months. Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on “Face The Nation” on CBS that the Pfizer vaccine could be authorized by Halloween.

Every day her kids go to school, Christina Jones worries they’ll come home with COVID-19. She can’t wait for a vaccine.

“They will be first in line,” she said.

Duke is part of the clinical trial studying the Pfizer vaccine in children. Researchers said the first group of children in the trial has already received both doses. Researchers have collected data following the second dose.

Earlier in the summer, the FDA asked vaccine makers to add more kids to the trial. Many of them have not gotten the second dose yet.

Dr. Michael Smith is one of the co-investigators for the study at Duke University.

“If we are going to have it by October, there’s not enough time to get that second big cohort of kids in,” he noted.

He said the FDA asked to expand the trials before the delta variant really started surging in children. The need for a vaccine has become more pressing.

“I think in the context of COVID-19 being back and causing significant disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, unfortunately, for some children, I do think that pendulum has shifted,” he said.

He said he hasn’t seen any signs of heart inflammation in the children involved in the trials.

“For something like that, if that were seen in subjects, Pfizer does have responsibility to let the other investigators know,” he said. “We’ve not seen that here and I’ve not heard of that at any other site.”

Smith said he’s looking forward to getting his own children vaccinated.

“Both my kids are younger than 12. One is in that 5-11 age group, and when there’s approval, I’m going to give it to her. I’m not going to wait for additional data,” he said. “I feel it’s a safe product.

Jones said she’ll feel much more comfortable sending her kids to school once they’ve had their shots.

“Vaccination is just that next step to ensure that they are going to be safe,” she said.

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