COVID-19 vaccine makers recruit kids for clinical trials

The trials are sparking debate in clinics and at kitchen tables

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT)- Vaccine makers are recruiting kids to be part of their clinical trials.  The companies will need to hold successful trials before for the vaccine is approved for all kids. 

More than 47-thousand people in Wisconsin alone have already been vaccinated for COVID-19. That’s a fraction, according to the Department of Health Services, of the more than 265-thousand doses allocated for Wisconsin. Healthcare workers and the elderly are at the front of the line, kids will likely be last. “It would not surprise me if it takes months, to potentially longer maybe a year.”, says Tom Harter. 

As the Gundersen Health System, director of the department of bioethics and humanities, Harter is keeping close watch on vaccine development. “There is no doubt we want to get kids vaccinated. The question is, how quickly do you do that.” 

Pfizer and Moderna are recruiting kids, 12-17, to take part in clinical trials. Its not clear when the trials will get underway.  Harter says the medical community is split over when and how to safely start.  “There are some that argue that we should be enrolling children very quickly. There is another group that says we don’t need to go as fast with the kids.” 

Its a debate taking place in the clinic and at kitchen tables around the U.S.  When asked on social media, some parents told News 8 Now they want their children vaccinated. Others said “never”. 

Harter has already received his first shot. His kids are asking for theirs too.  Harter isn’t opposed. The father of five just wants to do more of his own research first. “To make sure as a parent I’m not putting my kids at any undo risk.”

Harter says Gundersen Health System is not taking part in trials involving kids. If there is one in Wisconsin, Harter says it’s important to read the conformed consent documents carefully to fully understand the risks.