Pfizers first COVID shot for children administered at Duke – WRAL.com
By Keely Arthur, WRAL reporter
Durham, N.C. — The so-called City of Medicine helped launch Pfizer’s effort to protect the world’s children from COVID-19.
The pharmaceutical company on Wednesday launched Phase 1 of its study into how its COVID vaccine will affect children under the age of 12.
Twin 9-year-old girls, Alejandra and Marisol Gerardo, sat in a Duke Health facility in Durham when they received the first vaccinations in the United States. Their mother Susanna Naggie, a Duke physician, said her girls were “super excited” to tell their friends about getting the first shots.
“This was a way for them to both, potentially get access to the vaccine sooner, but also to contribute and expedite the speed with which we get to a point where all kids have the option of getting vaccinated,” Naggie said.
Experts believe more than 80% of Americans need to be vaccinated in order for the country to reach herd immunity, but so far drug companies have yet to develop a federally-approved shot for children.
Pfizer and Moderna have each launched trial studies.
Three hospitals in other states are also participating in the Pfizer trial, in which 48 children will receive three different dosage levels of the vaccine. Their reactions will help determine how the study proceeds to its second phase.
The study’s principal investigator is Dr. Emmanuel “Chip” Walter, chief medical officer of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. He emphasized the importance of protecting children from the novel coronavirus.
“First, children can develop serious infection and the consequences of infection include death,” Walter said.
“There have been more deaths in children during the past year than during a typical flu season. Second, being able to vaccinate children is an important component of developing herd immunity, or population-level protection, as children makeup a significant proportion of our population.”
Pfizer expects results in the second half of thisyear, and the company hopes to vaccinate younger children early next year.