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Pfizer trial to test COVID-19 vaccine in children as young as 6 months old

The children will receive the same vaccine that millions of adults have already received. The trials will begin by giving the children a smaller dose.

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Pfizer is starting clinical trials in children as young as 6 months old.

Some of those trials are happening in Cincinnati at Children's Hospital.

Dr. Robert Frenk, who leads the research for Pfizer's vaccines at Children's Hospital, said the trials will begin in Cincinnati Monday with a group of eight children, ages 5 to 11.

"We've had about 300 or 400 families that have contacted us at least showing preliminary interest," Frenk said.

The children will receive the same vaccine that millions of adults have already received. The trials will begin by giving the children a smaller dose.

"The idea is that you want to get your information by exposing as few people as possible to something new," Frenk said.

Each child will receive a vaccine. No one will receive dummy shots.

Pfizer said the global study involves 144 participants and will examine if the vaccine can generate an immune response in kids. It will also determine the proper dosage for the age groups in trial: 6 months to 2 years, 2 years to 5 years and 5 years to 11 years.

"You look and see the safety profile and if that looks ok then you drop down to 2-to-5 year olds and then repeat it, and then if that looks OK, go down to even younger age," Frenk said. "Because what we want to do is to see if we need to decrease the dose a little bit. It may be that the younger kids, they just don't need as much. They'll still get as good of immune response but with less vaccine."

Dr. Louito Edje, a family medicine physician at UC [University of Cincinnati] Health and the associate dean of Graduate Medical Education at UC College of Medicine, participated in UC's Moderna trial.

"I'm a person who wants no regrets and I want to look back at the end of this and say that I did everything that I could possibly do to help save as many lives as possible," she said.

After losing four family members to COVID-19, she has become an advocate for vaccination.

As a mother herself, she knows parents may have a lot of questions about the vaccine or question if it is safe for children.

"I would absolutely be comfortable with vaccinating a 6-month-old," she said.

To parents, she says to do the research, check your sources and seek answers to any questions you have.

"There is no stupid question. Find someone who can answer your concerns," she said. "I realize that these are your children that you're thinking about vaccinating and they're dear to you. I would say go ahead and do it. I think number one, them getting COVID would be more detrimental."