KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Parents interested in having their children participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial can now register with Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
Registering on the hospitals website does not enroll a child in the vaccine trial. It simply tells the hospital you’re interested in enrolling should the hospital begin a clinical research trial.
Doctor Barbara Pahud, Children’s Mercy Hospital’s director of infectious disease research, said nearly 1,000 people have registered before the registration went public.
Pahud is in conversations with several pharmaceutical partners to begin a study to find a vaccine which protects children from COVID-19.
Only one of the two COVID-19 vaccines currently in use across the United States is available for children ages 16 and older. The other is for adults only.
Dr. Pahud said Operation Warp Speed focused on developing a vaccine for adults because COVID-19 has a greater impact on adults than children. Plus COVID-19 vaccines use a new kind of mRNA and adenovirus technology to deliver the vaccine.
“No vaccine in the childhood immunization schedule currently uses any of those technologies,” Pahud said.
Still, Pahud said the study she hopes to bring to Kansas City is low risk. Her own 12-year-old daughter is on the registry - although she wouldn’t be able to participate if her mother is the principal investigator.
Pahud said a COVID-19 vaccine for children would save lives and possibly prevent multi system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a condition which causes children’s organs to swell and is linked to COVID-19.
“Just because COVID-19 is affecting adults more than children, doesn’t mean we need to stop paying attention to the children,” she said. “This should become another vaccine-preventable disease. We don’t want any child to die of anything that is preventable.”
Pahud hopes to finalize an agreement to begin a trial in the next several weeks. She anticipates launching the clinical trial in March.
She said some trials take two years to complete, but the federal government could grant the vaccine an emergency use authorization before the trial is complete.