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Kaiser launches COVID-19 vaccine trial for children aged 5 to 11

It has been a difficult year for 11-year-old Luci Guardino. Distance learning was not easy, and she lacked being able to entertain her friends.

That’s why she’s participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial for children ages 5 to 11 in Sacramento, which kicked off this week at a trio of Kaiser Permanente sites in Northern California. She wants to make sure that she and others her age can get back to doing the things they loved before the pandemic.

“I really want to participate in the study to make sure we get back to normal life,” Luci, the daughter of a Kaiser pediatrician, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Luci is one of 75 children expected to be enrolled in the study, which is also being conducted at the Kaiser sites in Oakland and Santa Clara. This is part of a national effort involving approximately 4,600 children to evaluate a vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, the trial sponsors.

A few weeks ago, Kaiser Medical Center in Los Angeles launched a trial evaluating a Moderna vaccine for children 6 months to 11 years old, a Kaiser spokesperson said. So far he has participants registered from the age of 6.

At sites in northern California, two-thirds of participants will receive the vaccine, while the other third will receive a placebo. Designed as a double-blind study, neither clinicians nor patients will know if the vaccine is in the syringe. Clinicians will collect data on the efficacy and safety of the dosage, including side effects.

After receiving her first injection, Luci said her arm felt heavy, but she did not feel sick or have other unwanted symptoms.

If all goes well with the trial, the vaccine could be available to young children as early as the fall, according to Dr Nicola Klein, director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center, which is leading the trial.

“So it can be around the start of school,” Klein said, adding that the timing is the best of times and is ultimately still “on hold.”

Pzizer has an approved COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 and older. In April, Stanford began testing the Pfizer vaccine on children as young as 2 years old. Moderna announced in March its vaccine trial for children 6 months to 11 years old.

COVID-19 vaccines in general have been shown to be extremely safe among the more than 300 million Americans who have received one, but it is still important to test them separately in younger age groups, according to Dr. Pia Pannaraj , specialist in infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angèle.

“Children are not little adults, so we cannot assume that a vaccine that works well in adults will work in children,” said Pannaraj, who is also an associate professor of pediatrics at the hospital.

If the vaccine is approved for younger age groups, Pannaraj said the vast majority of children should receive it. An allergy to vaccine components is one of the few contraindications to receiving an injection, she said.

Les enfants en général ne tombent pas aussi malades des infections à coronavirus que les adultes, et les personnes âgées en particulier. Cependant, certains deviennent suffisamment malades pour nécessiter une hospitalisation et des soins intensifs. Une petite minorité développe une complication grave non observée chez les adultes appelée syndrome inflammatoire multisystémique, ou MIS-C, essentiellement une inflammation de tout leur corps.

En plus de prévenir éventuellement de graves complications, les enfants vaccinés ne pourront pas transmettre le virus à d’autres qui pourraient s’en sortir plus mal, comme leurs parents, grands-parents ou enseignants, a déclaré Pannaraj.

Cela aidera également à ramener les enfants comme Luci à la normale.

« Les enfants doivent pouvoir retourner à l’école et faire du sport, et c’est l’été – organisez des fêtes au bord de la piscine et des soirées pyjama », a-t-elle déclaré, « il est donc très important qu’ils se fassent vacciner et soient protégés pour pouvoir faire tous ces choses.”





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