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Politics and Government
Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog.

Upstate Medical University to study effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine in teens

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Tom Magnarelli
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Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital.

Now that the FDA has given the go-ahead to release the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, researchers want to determine if children can get vaccinated as well. Upstate Medical University is looking for young volunteers to take part in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial, noting the earlier studies of the vaccine didn’t include children.

Upstate Pediatrics professor Joseph Domachowske said it needs to be determined if the vaccine is safe for children, even though they often aren’t symptomatic.

"They shed virus and they can infect other people so it’s important to include them in clinical vaccine trials from a community perspective, to make sure they’re not just protected themselves, but they are protected from transmitting the infection to someone else, not even knowing they are sick,” Domachowske said.

Upstate is looking for about 100 participants between the ages of 12-15 to take part in the randomized study. Domachowske said one of the key things they’ll look for is if dosages should be lowered for these younger patients. Domachowske said once those safety and efficacy questions are answered, it’s likely the emergency use authorization could be extended to younger and younger ages.

“I don’t see that happening until late summer or fall at the earliest in 2021,” Domachowske said. “Generally vaccines work better for children than adults. But there may be higher rates of certain side effects, especially local injection site types of side effects that could justify changing the dose, so that at a certain age, as they get younger and younger, they don’t need a full adult dose.”