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Plans underway for pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trials

Trials to help determine how well immune systems of children respond to vaccines that are shown to be safe, effective in adults

February 18, 2021

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Washington University pediatric infectious diseases doctors plan to launch clinical trials this spring at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to evaluate COVID-19 vaccines in children.

While children are far less likely than adults to become seriously ill from COVID-19, they still can spread the virus. The trials will help determine how well the immune systems of children respond to coronavirus vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective in adults.

The researchers have created an online registry for families interested in enrolling their children. Parents/guardians can enter their contact information into the registry, and researchers will begin contacting families with more information when the trials are open. Filling out the registry information doesn’t guarantee enrollment in a trial or obligate families to enroll their children.

“We are excited that COVID-19 pediatric vaccine trials will be coming to the St. Louis community,” said David Hunstad, MD, director of pediatric infectious diseases at Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. “These COVID-19 vaccines were first studied in adults, and now multiple U.S. sites are moving carefully to evaluate the vaccines in younger age groups to determine whether they protect children in the same way as adults.”

Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,500 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, ranking among the top 10 medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.