Rutgers taking part in Pfizer COVID vaccine trials for children under 12

Daniel J. Munoz//May 7, 2021

Rutgers taking part in Pfizer COVID vaccine trials for children under 12

Daniel J. Munoz//May 7, 2021

Rutgers University will be conducting clinical trials for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine use on children between the ages of 6 months old and 11 years of age, the university announced on May 7.

The announcement comes as the global drugmaker heads to the U.S Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval to use the vaccine on people between the ages of 12 and 15 years of age, full approval for anyone over the age of 16, and an application by this September for anyone between the ages of 2 and 11.

“We are proud of the tremendous progress we’ve made since December in delivering vaccines to millions of Americans, in collaboration with the U.S. Government,” Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said in a May 7 statement.

“We look forward to working with the FDA to complete this rolling submission and support their review, with the goal of securing full regulatory approval of the vaccine in the coming months.”

Studies have been underway since March for use of the vaccine on anyone between 6 months and 11 years of age, Pfizer said in its first-quarter 2021 statement.

State health officials are aiming to fully vaccinate 4.7 million adults by June 30, which they contend that threshold is key to building widespread herd immunity that could curtail the spread of the virus, and in turn, lead to lifting COVID-19 business restrictions en masse. The state has fully vaccinated 3.5 million adults.

Most of the delivered shots are from the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and a small percentage from the one-shot Johnson & Johnson inoculation. Interest nonetheless has lagged in recent weeks.

As part of Rutgers’ participation in the Pfizer study, the university will enroll 100 children between the ages of 5 and 12, and 50 participants each in the 2-to-5-year and 6-month-to-2-year age group. All told, there are 4,644 children taking part in the study worldwide. Participants for the Rutgers study are currently being recruited.

The student is being run through the Pediatric Clinical Research Center at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick

“Children can get sick from COVID-19 and can spread the virus to others even if they are asymptomatic. While most children experience mild or no symptoms, some children can get severely ill and could have long-term effects,” reads a statement from Simon Li, an associate professor at the medical school who is one of the heads of the study.

“Maximizing COVID-19 vaccination in all age groups is important to stop the global progression of the disease.”