ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 hasn't been approved yet, but doctors are working hard behind the scenes to make it happen as soon as possible.
Dozens of children in the Rochester area are involved in trials for the vaccine. Golisano Children's Hospital is one of many trial sites in the country that is moving along research to get kids safely vaccinated as soon as possible.
Dr. Jennifer Nayak, associate professor of pediatrics at Golisano, says the key is finding the right dose for the varying weight and sizes of children. She is involved in these trials as one of the doctors who checks the children blindly, meaning they do not know whether a child has received the vaccine or placebo. Another doctor who does know will then compare notes on antibody levels and symptoms.
Dr. Nayak says nearly 100 kids from around the area are involved in these trials for Pfizer and Moderna each and their ages range from 6 months to 11 years old.
"The biggest thing to remember is that kids are not just small adults," said Dr. Nayak. "You can't say this worked in adults and now we're just going to go and give it to children. It's important that we look at safety. It's important that we know what dose to give."
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is fully approved for teenagers 16 and up and has emergency use authorization in kids 12 and up.
Dr. Michael Pichichero, director of the Rochester General Hospital Research Institute, says a full approval is around the corner.
"Indeed the vaccine has been studied in 12 to 16-year-olds as well," said Dr. Pichichero. "We just don't yet have all of the approvals in place. I fully expect both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be soon moving to a stage of approval called full aproval, not only emergency use authorization."
Both Dr. Nayak and Dr. Pichichero are hopeful for more children to be able to get vaccinated by the end of the year or the start of 2022.