UW Health testing COVID-19 vaccine on kids 6 mos. to 5 year-old

A young child receives a COVID-19 vaccine dose at UW Health.
A young child receives a COVID-19 vaccine dose at UW Health.(UW Health)
Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 8:36 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health participation in pediatric COVID-19 vaccine testing will now target an even younger age group. UW Health is helping test the safety and effectiveness of Moderna’s version of the vaccine on children between the ages of six months and five years old.

Unlike August, when the health system put out a call for applicants to join the study involving kids between five and 11 years old, researchers at American Family Children’s Hospital said they already have all the applicants they need for this latest one. In Monday’s statement, UW Health noted the data from that age group has been passed along to Moderna, which is currently reviewing it.

“This is the final frontier. Our very youngest children need to get the vaccine and we need to make sure they are safe,” UW–Madison’s co-principal investigator of the KidCOVE clinical trial Dr. Bill Hartman said. “The kids participating are heroes. They will be able to tell the story of how they helped save the world.”

Like that older group, UW Health explained there are approximately 4,000 of these younger participants, spread among 75-100 sites, involved in KidCOVE studies across the country and in Canada. Study leaders added that around four in five children from Madison who will be part of the test are from underserved populations, “meaning they might face barriers based on race, ethnicity, income, geography, and health outcomes.”

The trial is expected to last about 14 months and will be placebo-controlled. Parents and kids initially will not know which one they received.

Deerfield resident Anne Rodriguez enrolled her 4-year-old twin boys, Sam and Theo, in the trial.

“We had talked to our pediatrician about if we saw the opportunity to enroll in a trial, should we? And she said you know what yes if it was my kids I would, I would sign up,” said Rodriguez.

Last week both boys got their first doses and will go back for their second shots in about a month. Over the next 14 months they will be periodically monitored through blood draws, temperature checks and questionnaires.

Rodriguez said she and her husband were thrilled when they heard their children were accepted for the study. “Every shot in every arm helps keep more of us safe and we are also just very interested in helping move forward the effort for the vaccine trials for these very young people who are the ones who, right now, really are the last group that doesn’t have access to a vaccine yet,” said Rodriguez.

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