Covid vaccine trials are underway for children aged 6 months to 12 years

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I’d like to begin this post with a disclaimer. I understand that the US is at a very different place in their COVID management than the rest of the world. When I write, it’s generally from a US perspective. We appreciate our commenters from other countries and their contributions.

Last week, we discussed that schools throughout the US were opening back up for in person classrooms in the fall. Many schools would only have in person classes, eliminating virtual learning. Part of that discussion was that kids 12 and up could be vaccinated. But that left parents of kids under 12 wondering how they were supposed to feel. There is some good news on the horizon, Pfizer and Moderna are both in clinical vaccine trials for children aged six months to 12 years.

A COVID-19 vaccine could soon be available for children as young as 6 months old.

Pfizer and Moderna have both begun vaccine trials on the youngest age group yet, with parental consent. Dr. Steve Plimpton, the principal investigator for Moderna’s trial in children, told ABC News that their main concern is that kids can unknowingly infect others.

“We’re also going to be protecting those around those children, the teachers, the parents at home, the grandparents,” Dr. Plimpton said. “So that’s the unspoken benefit of this study.”

In the phase one trial for Pfizer, kids will receive their second dose 21 days after their first. For Moderna, it will be 28 days later. This is referred to as a “dosing” trial, allowing researchers to determine how much vaccine children can tolerate and how to protect them.

The second phase will involve splitting subjects into a placebo and a treatment group. “We’ll follow these children out for a year to determine how they’ve done with it,” Dr. Plimpton added of the Moderna trial.

As for Pfizer, their study involves 5,000 children nationwide, and they expect to have results by the winter. “Together with our partner BioNTech, we have dosed the first healthy children in a global Phase study to further evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2) in preventing COVID-19 in healthy children 6 months to 11 years old,” a spokesperson for Pfizer tells PEOPLE in a statement.

[From People]

If the trials go as planned, full Food and Drug Administration approval is expected by the winter. However, Pfizer and Moderna will apply for emergency use authorizations this fall, like Pfizer did for 12–17 year-olds, so students can be vaccinated for school. This will likely create some debate for parents who are already hesitant to (or outright against) vaccinating their children and school boards requiring it.

A big issue is that so far, the idea has been that COVID is not an issue for younger kids. That even if they get it, they’ll be fine. Medical professionals are emphasizing that is not the case. According to Dr. Yvonne Maldonado at Stanford University School of Medicine, at least four million children have been infected with COVID and between 300-600 have died. A small number of children who contracted the virus developed a multi-system inflammatory system that affected their organs. The long-term effects are still being worked out. A vaccine would help prevent these long-term events even if the child ends up contracting the virus. And its biggest benefit is it would definitely limit the spread of the virus among children.

In other vaccine news, Moderna has completed vaccine trials on 12–17 year-olds and is applying for FDA approval. So we should have even more options available soon.

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54 Responses to “Covid vaccine trials are underway for children aged 6 months to 12 years”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I am worried about my kids being sick but I’m more worried about them getting someone else sick. I guess that’s the point of getting as many adults vaccinated as possible, right?

    My husband said to me last night that he’s more worried about taking the boys places than he was a few months ago because so few people are wearing masks anymore, and he doesn’t trust that they are all vaccinated. (I don’t either.) So we definitely want them vaccinated as soon as we can, i’m hoping this vaccine is available in the fall for them.

    • Ellie says:

      Yep, this is what I was coming here to comment. I think this will help ease some concern and some confusion among parents with kids these days and what they can/should do as regulations change and people start to return to work. I have a boss with kids in this age range and he and his wife have agreed to still wear their masks everywhere, indoors and out, even if there’s only coworkers around who they know are vaccinated (we all submitted proof of vaccine cards to HR at my job). Totally understandable they want to protect their family and I applaud their choice to give their kids vaccines when it’s safe. I hope they have that option soon.

    • Betsy says:

      We’ve actually just started to take our kids into public places again for the first time since the pandemic began. They mask, we mask in solidarity (and in the minuscule chance that some unvaccinated waste of space has a covid variant). Our state is approaching 50% vaccination. I just can’t keep these poor kids at home, again.

      And people who refuse to vaccinate are a$$holes.

      • Becks1 says:

        We actually were taking them places when everyone was masked up, the issue is that our governor ended the mask mandate and I just don’t trust other people. Masks and social distancing made me feel better in some situations, with those things gone….I dont trust that every person without a mask is vaccinated (even though we’re at 70% in my state).

  2. Piratewench says:

    I have always given my children every vaccine. And this will be no different. My kids live a life where measles, mumps, rubella, polio etc etc are not a threat to them. Historically this is an absolute wonder and a gift.
    It always wracks my nerves to get the vaccine shots. I’m always nervous and watching for reactions. But I will take those 24-48 hours of nerves if it means my little kids will be safer and live a more free life once again.
    Plus like a commenter said above, so many adults have shown themselves to be thoughtless, selfish maniacs so the only path forward is to get my kids as much protection as possible.

  3. Sofia in TX says:

    My one-year-old is signed up for both the Moderna and Pfizer trials. In my area, there’s a huge demand for spots in these studies, even though there is a chance our kids will receive a placebo. I hope we’re one of the lucky families that gets a spot in the trial and the actual vaccine.

    • Coco says:

      Thanks so much to you and your child for being part of the trials. As the parent of two toddlers, you have my sincerest gratitude. Crossing all my fingers and toes that your child gets a spot!!!

    • kimmy says:

      Thank you for doing this, Sofia! I trust science and the doctors, however it is always so scary doing something new when it comes to your littles. I’m sure it was not a decision your family took lightly!

    • Jess says:

      Oh I love this!! Thank you thank you thank you!!

    • Silver says:

      It’s insane that you would let them ‘try’ out the vaccine on your baby who doesn’t even have a say in the matter.

      • Merricat says:

        This is a pretty ludicrous statement.

      • Anne Call says:

        Silver, so you don’t think that babies should be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella? Or diphtheria, TB or whooping cough? Babies have been getting those vaccines for decades and have seriously cut back on illness and death. Polio vaccine changed life for millions of kids. Your child can’t go to school without proof of vaccinations. Uninformed anti science direction this country is going in really concerns me.

      • Jess says:

        Silver, but exposing them to a deadly virus that’s killed millions of people isn’t insane at all right?

      • Christine says:

        Babies have no say in anything, because they lack language, movement, and critical thinking skills. Which is why they have parents like Sophia.

      • Just Me says:

        @Anne Call,
        Babies and children have not been getting the covid vaccines for decades. It is a trial. Literally an experiment to see what happens. Get yourself Injected with anything you want, but it’s madness to experiment on babies and young children. Covid has not been a huge threat to children. Adults over 60 are the most vulnerable and even they have a 99% survival rate. There are effective treatments available.

    • nicegirl says:

      Thank you so much, Sofia.

    • Christine says:

      I would LOVE to get my 11 year old in a trial! Good on you, for being brave, thank you so much!

  4. Juju says:

    The multi symptom inflammatory syndrome is very real and a huge concern for me. I know a little 3 year old with kidney and heart damage because of it. We have no idea yet the types of long term effects that COVID can have on our bodies (what we do know is very scary, but just the top of the iceberg). Until my kids are fully vaccinated we are going to continue to be extremely cautious. We are grateful that we have this option.

  5. curachel20 says:

    I’ll be interested in the little ones reactions to the vaccine. That’s my only hesitation for my toddlers. I desperately want them vaccinated against it, but I am not (selfishly) wanting to deal with them being miserable. My husband and I had virtually no side effects, so that was nice. Since little kids tend to have milder reactions to the virus, maybe their vaccine reaction will be less too? Fingers crossed!!! Hooray for science!

  6. JP says:

    I’m in MA and we are doing so well with infection rates, I’m so disappointed that it’s masks off and a free for all in stores and restaurants with the travel season right on us. As the mother of a 6 year old- I feel like her health and the health of all of the kids who cannot get vaccinated has been disregarded. The idea that only vaccinated people are going maskless is nonsense- I saw SO many families with children the age of my daughter without a single person in a mask.

    • megs283 says:

      JP, I’m also in Massachusetts and I have a 3 and 5 year old and I feel the same way. Masks are now optional at school. It was tough explaining to my 5 yo that some of her classmates will not have masks on, but that we want her to wear hers. Our compromise is that our kids don’t have to wear them when outside. Adding to this is that my parents think that COVID is overblown and that masks are for lemmings… yeah. It’s great.

      My husband and I are fully vaccinated and will be wearing masks when we’re going places with our kids.

      • JP says:

        Same for us, we are vaccinated and still wearing them- I honestly don’t mind them at all (and they help with my allergies)! Her school is still requiring masks inside, they can take them off outside- I’m sure by the fall it will be optional. Can’t wait to get her vaccinated!

    • Christine says:

      I am right there with you. I am fully vaccinated, but my 11 year old has no option for a vaccine, at this point.

      We live in LA, and I go nowhere without a mask, even fully vaccinated. I’m not sure what other people are thinking, I’m beginning to realize I understand nothing about my fellow humans.

  7. Jess says:

    This is excellent and I can’t wait to see the results. I have to roll my eyes at people who say they refuse to let their children be “lab rats” and get vaccinated, news flash..they’ll be lab rats when you let them get covid and have no idea how their little bodies will respond now or years from now from long haul symptoms. Both options have risks! My 13 year old got covid in March from her dance studio and she’s really enjoying having more freedom with those antibodies, said she’ll gladly get her jab if it means she can continue seeing friends. I’m choosing to trust the science and just go for it.

    • Meghan says:

      My ex-husband “wants to wait a bit” before our 4 year old gets the Covid vaccine. Of course I’m barreling full steam ahead and going to as his cardiologist if he sees any potential issues with the vaccine when we go to his appointment next week. And his pediatrician when he goes for his 5 year check-up so I’m prepared when they say go. He already get every vaccine available including the flu shot (which i dont even get, i know im terrible) so I’m ready to fight the fight with my ex about this.

      I will admit I was hesitant for myself because the vaccine came out so fast but I read about it and also determined that the long-term effects of having Covid were scarier for me than any vaccine side effects. My son’s heart condition isn’t severe, it’s something that we monitor yearly but could Covid affect it? I dont know and I dont really want to find out the hard way.

    • Christine says:

      Word. Up.

  8. Bunny says:

    Our youngest (young teen) gets her second vaccine tomorrow. When she does, our entire family – my inlaws, the kids (husband & siblings), the spouse (me), and the grandchildren will all be completely vaccinated.

    No side effects apart from being really tired after the second vaccine. That seems to be a thing with our family. Everyone had been tired for about 18-24 hours after the vaccine.

    Not sure how it’ll feel. I’m just happy and thankful right now.

  9. L says:

    To be a voice of dissent, nope, absolutely not getting my children vaccinated.

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics summary of findings as of 5/20/21 (
    -Children were 1.3%-3.2% of total reported hospitalizations, and between 0.1%-1.9% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization
    -Children were 0.00%-0.20% of all COVID-19 deaths, and 9 states reported zero child deaths

    That we have kept them isolated and in fear for over a year is a tragedy in their lives. I would love to see studies that compare how countries that did not mask/shut down in-person school fared compared to US rates for kids.

    • Jules says:

      The reality and tragedy is that Covid is real and has killed thousands and infected millions. Crying that the poor children are being forced to isolate and be in fear is conspiracy thinking.

      • L says:

        I’m not doubting or minimizing the reality of Covid for adults but if it has not been a major risk factor for kids, then yes, it is sad that their lives were upended in such a way. Kid’s have not been the spreaders.

      • pottymouth pup says:

        @L the data for children doesn’t factor in that, thus far, children have had the least exposure as most schools did not have in-person learning and responsible parents were limiting with whom their children were interacting as they were social distancing themselves. The data could have been very different had we had the attitude that kids rarely get infected/have severe infections and just let them continue with in-person schooling as if everything were normal

      • Jules says:

        Fact of life, children are living through a pandemic, we all are. To say that they are being forced to isolate and be fearful is the typical brainwashing of Q and conspiracies. There have been previous pandemics, and we have relatives that lived through the Great Depression. Yes it will have an impact on everyone who has lived through it, but stop pretending that Covid is just like the flu.

    • Ashley L. says:

      L, your initial comment and response to Jules makes no sense. “[I]t is sad that their [kids’] lives were upended in such a way. Kid’s [sic] have not been the spreaders.” You acknowledge that Covid was a risk for adults, so do you think that parents were allowing their children to live normal lives while they were taking precautions and were not? And while it is true that most children have not been severely affected, it’s not true that none were. Just as it was a gamble for an adult to go out, be exposed, have serious complications or die, the same is true for children. We were all at risk. So yes, it is sad that children have missed out on doing the things that kids do and the things that are necessary and important for healthy development, but I think that in the long run if you ask kids in the future if they’re glad they didn’t die and weren’t orphaned due to Covid, even though it meant they couldn’t spend any or as much time with friends and family, play team sports, or go to school in person, etc., etc., I think the answer will be yes.

    • Becks1 says:

      But if the vaccines are proven to be safe for kids, then why not get them vaccinated? It makes us all safer.

    • Liz says:

      Thank God someone else out here has critical thinking skills. Can’t believe the blind trust people have in a system that has shown over and over again it has no concern for its citizens.

      • Mette says:

        thank god you are the only person in the world with critical thinking skills, you will save us all. obviously.

    • saltyCracker says:

      I can’t understand this mass fear. Yes, covid is real. Yes, people have died. But also many have lived to tell the tale. Our whole family had it. My husband was the sickest of us all (55yo, overweight, high BP, Type1 diabetes. Basically a whole laundry list of comorbidities, yes?). He had fever for a week, tiredness and no appetite. That’s all.
      Yes, we wear masks going shopping. We don’t wear masks going for a walk in the park cuz duh…
      Sleep, hydrate, whole food meals, play, go outside. That’s always better than jabbing fast forwarded vaxx that I’m not sure of side effects.
      I’ll just leave it here. Hope it goes through.

      • Jules says:

        I love when people talk about “this mass fear” and then post a paranoid link about the “terrifying reasons side effects such as heart inflammation, VITT, and other serious issues may occur in those who have been vaccinated.” Of course there are gonna be side effects for some people, how about looking at all the research and info that is out there to balance out your perspective? The lack of compassion and the narcissism in the world is gonna be our downfall.

      • Annabel says:

        That’s so great to hear that your family survived their bouts with Covid! But so far 33,156 people have died of Covid in my city, so everyone I know got vaccinated as soon as we possibly could.

    • eliza says:

      Anti-vaxxers please get ahold of yourselves. You are on the wrong side of history. Like segregation, and LGBTQA rights there is no reasonable debate. Vaccines save lives. The side effect of the vaccine is that you feel like shit for two days. Not a big deal. Then your immune system knows how to fight Covid. How can you argue with the numbers of people dying when there was no Covid vaccine compared to people dying from Covid now.

    • Just Me says:

      It’s nice to see critical thinking skills in action. Good for you, L!

  10. Liz says:

    I hope vaccinating American kids doesn’t mean the US hoards all the vaccines again like they and the UK did the first quarter of the year. I was livid watching shots in teenagers arms while globally so many vulnerable higher risk people are waiting and waiting and waiting.

  11. Amn says:

    My state has announced a full return to in person school in September, with no virtual option. I’m in a state that doesn’t have free virtual K-12 available. Every day there’s a contingent of moms on the school SM complaining about the mask requirement. When the vaccine was approved for 12 – 16, they complained about an email giving information about a voluntary (the word voluntary was bolded) vaccine clinic for the kids. We have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country for all childhood vaccines.

    My 8 year old is high risk. I have no idea what I’m going to do in September if he isn’t fully vaccinated by the start of school. I’m frankly terrified.

    • JP says:

      I’m so sorry, I don’t understand how schools can cut the remote option without the option to vaccinate. They should at least leave it as an option for young children- or continue to require masks.

    • IMARA219 says:

      In my opinion, just good 21st-century education decisions mean a district should offer a virtual school option. It’s not only good for students but good for education “business”.

  12. nicegirl says:

    I’m so happy to hear we may soon have a COVID-19 vaccine for our little ones. I’ve been so worried about the very young contracting COVID and the risk of long haul problems if survivable.

  13. pottymouth pup says:

    Just to be clear, neither Phase 1 nor Phase 2 studies do not have 5000 participants (and I’ve run some obnoxiously large phase 2s). Phase one tests the safety & tolerability to determine dose level for phase 2 which helps select dose(s) for phase 3. The phase 1 dosing in the 6mo-11year old kids occurred in early March so, if they’ve already increased the sample size to 5000, they’ve already advanced to phase 3.

  14. Anna says:

    I’m from Poland. My 2 kids (both 12+) will get the shot next week or so. I’m beyond hapy.

  15. deezee says:

    I wish my 11 year old daughter could get her vaccine now (and so does she). But besides one region in my entire province (which are allowing those born in 2009 or earlier), you need to have already turned 12 which means that she is choosing virtual school for next school year. Never mind that at 5’4″ and over 120lbs, she is the size of an adult.

  16. Kay says:

    I’m so thankful to all the families participating! We’re expecting our first baby in December, and knowing that we may be able to get them vaccinated in May is SUCH a relief.

  17. Lindy says:

    My 11yo turns 12 this month and is thrilled to be getting the vaccine the very next day. If these trials prove the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for the under-12 crowd, my 3yo will be next in line. I’m still shocked when I see anti-vax conspiracy nonsense being spouted.

  18. Kate says:

    So glad to hear this as our school district just announced yesterday (why so early??) that it would be returning to in-person instruction in the fall with no remote options and that masks would be optional for all staff and students. Conveniently forgetting that masks protect others not yourself. So basically, they are saying if you want to protect other people from your own germs you can, but don’t have to.

    Anyway, I don’t know if this is common knowledge but I asked some mom friends yesterday and they do make KN95 masks for kids thank goodness, so at least my kids can have some protection from sick kids/teachers in the fall if there is still no vaccine. They don’t mind wearing masks at all – I’m not sure why some people act like we are forcing our kids to walk around in chainmail suits by masking them. They got used to it and do it voluntarily even when I’m not worried, like when we are outside.

  19. Stephanie says:

    As a mom to an almost-2yo with Down Syndrome, I am waiting for the pediatric vaccine with bated breath. Not many people know this, but people with Down Syndrome (including infants, toddlers and children) are shown to be 5x more likely than neurotypical people (of any age) to develop severe illness and/or death if infected with COVID-19. That’s partly because of underlying conditions some with DS may have (cardiac, respiratory issues), but also because the extra chromosome itself causes that famously dangerous cytokine storm/severe inflammatory reaction in their bodies. Due to this, we as a family have been isolating with our little girl since these studies came about a few months after the start of the pandemic. I can’t tell you how excited I am at the thought of her being able to be fully vaccinated and to be able to go hang out with and learn from other kids at preschool and play groups! Thank you modern medicine!!

  20. C says:

    All of you should be ashamed of yourselves for signing your kids up for an experimental shot with no knowledge of possible risks in the future for them. Just to protect yourselves and the older people? So we’re sacrificing the young for the old? Idiots. You are guilty of child abuse