Researchers warn children not included in COVID-19 vaccine trials
Medical researchers are vocalizing concerns that children have not been included in ongoing trials for a COVID-19 vaccine and young people may not receive vaccinations to protect themselves against the virus until well into 2021.
While speaking to reporters on Monday, Evan Anderson, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Emory University School of Medicine, argued that trials should include children to allow them to be protected from COVID-19 ahead of the 2021 school year.
“We owe it to our children not to delay moving forward with initial studies to evaluate promising vaccine candidates,” Anderson, who is also an investigator for the Moderna-National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases trial of a potential coronavirus vaccine, said.
However, Barry Bloom, an immunologist at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told USA Today that he believes children should not be included in trials until a vaccine is shown to be safe when tested on adults.
Bloom added that trials should be launched first in areas that have good record-keeping on childhood vaccinations, and then students, teachers, administrators and others working at schools should be vaccinated at the same time to ensure “everyone in that school is equally protected.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics reported that as of Sept. 17, more than 587,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19.
A top medical official in Michigan last week said that “children are not spared from this disease” after a 2-month-old baby died due to complications from the virus. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that the cause of the baby’s death was tied to gastroschisis, but included: “This 2-month-old infant died from COVID-19. He had GI symptoms of the disease, which exacerbated tenuous congenital defects.”
On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson announced the beginning of phase three trials of its proposed coronavirus vaccine. The candidate vaccine is the fourth to begin late-stage trails in the United States, following behind Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Johnson & Johnson said in its announcement that if proven safe and effective, the vaccine could be available to the public in “early 2021.”