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Health Team

Health experts: Children not initially involved in coronavirus vaccine trials

Posted November 29, 2020 6:26 p.m. EST

Advisors at the Center for Disease Control vote Tuesday on who should receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine once it's approved.

Before that happens, the vaccine must be tested to make sure it works and is safe. Children are largely left out of those clinical trials.

Though not all data from coronavirus vaccine clinical trials is known, experts say initially, children are often not involved. The reason for that is concern over testing a brand new vaccine on children, and in particular, experts believe children are not as severely affect by coronavirus.

"They have far fewer cases of serious disease," said Dr. Myron Cohen, an infectious disease expert with University of North Carolina's School of

Medicine.

A priority for testing a vaccine would be those most at risk first. With coronavirus, the biggest priority is older patients and those with other compromising medical conditions.

"The first effort was to get these vaccines into adults with greater risk of disease progression, hospitalization, severe outcomes," explained Cohen.

That does not mean there won't be any studies involving children.

"This is the beginning -- not the end," added Cohen. "We will be doing more clinical trials."

Still, that could mean vaccinations for children will likely come later.

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Dr. Anthony Fauci estimates it could be months.

Cohen added that when populations are cleared to take a vaccine, it is important that they do so to get ahead of spreading the virus.

"If we want to reduce hospitalizations and death and all the terrible things we are witnessing, we need massive numbers of people to take these vaccines," he said.

For similar reasons, pregnant women are also not historically included in initial vaccine trials.

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