Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) recently announced an expansion to its COVID-19 vaccine trial to include teenagers and children of 12 years. The company is the first drugmaker to include children in their COVID-19 vaccine trials, and this has drawn divided reactions from different people.
Pfizer testing vaccine in 3,000 teens
The New York Pharms received approval to expand its study group and include children as young as 12 years. The company expects to boost its study participants to 48,400, which includes 3,000 teens. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital commenced administering the shot on this young population, even vaccinating two middle schoolers.
Pfizer is one of the frontrunners in the development of COVID-19 vaccines. Its vaccine candidate is already in a late-stage study, and results are expected at the end of this month. Most of the vaccine research has been focused on adults, which means that children were overlooked even though they can get infected with the virus. However, the mortality rates among children have been low compared to adults, but kids can transmit the virus.
Approval of a vaccine trial draws mixed reactions
Having a vaccine for children is very important in fighting the pandemic and safe reopening of schools. However, some pediatric vaccine experts have indicated that federal regulators and drugmakers should be patient before trying the vaccines on children. The investigational vaccines should be proven to be effective and safe in adults before starting to inoculate kids.
In a public meeting of an advisory panel to the FDA, Tuft Children’s Hospital’s infectious disease expert Cody Meissner said that the FDA should wait to determine the vaccine’s safety. This is before they can approve it for children because the disease pattern in kids is different. He added that adding kids to adults in the trials is not good.
On the other hand, Dr. Barbara Pahud, the infectious diseases research director at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, said failing to get kids to trial as soon as possible is immoral. She said we shouldn’t wait for children to die when we can test vaccines on them.