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'Such an exciting time for us' | Norton Children's Hospital to begin COVID-19 vaccine trial for children 11 and younger

Norton Children's is planning to enroll 100 local volunteers aged six months to 11-years-old to participate in a Pfizer vaccine trial.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Norton Children's Hospital in Louisville is leading a new COVID-19 vaccine trial for children 11 and younger. 

Using the Pfizer vaccine, the research team is planning to enroll 100 local volunteers for the trial to study safety, tolerability and immune response in children aged six months to 11-years-old. 

Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Norton Children's and the University of Louisville School of Medicine, Gary Marshall, is serving as the principal investigator for the Louisville trial. 

Marshall said this is an important step in furthering research in the fight against COVID-19 and to ensure safety for more age groups to get vaccinated. 

"This is such an exciting time for us," Marshall said. "This one though is different, I think it's the most exciting vaccine trial I've ever been involved with because of the magnitude of what COVID-19 has meant for us as a community, for our country and our world."

The trial is set to take place over three weeks, where patients will either be given the vaccine or s placebo to see if there are side effects and what the immune response is. The children who receive the placebo will later be given the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Parents and caregivers will be asked to track changes in an electronic diary over a two year period. 

Marshall addressed some potential concerns in administering a vaccine trial in children and said the proven effectiveness and safety of the Pfizer vaccine in adults has provided experience to show that is 'incredibly safe' for children.

"We have no reason to believe, just based upon the biology, that the vaccines would be any less safe in children," Marshall said. "But, it is something that we have to study and we have to study it in rigorous fashion and that's exactly what we are doing." 

Everyone over the age of 12 is eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 

If you're interested in allowing your child participating in the trial, visit Norton Children's Hospital website to apply. 


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