Stanford begins testing

Topic: Stanford begins testing Pfizer vaccine in babies and young children

The littlest research volunteers arrived at Stanford University on Wednesday, accompanied by their parents, to participate in a pivotal study of the COVID-19 vaccine in very young children.

“We want our kids to be protected from the virus, and not to spread it to others if they do get infected,” said Zinaida Good of Palo Alto, whose 3-year-old son Andel sat still for a shot, then went home to play and take a nap. The family’s 7-month-old baby Soren is scheduled for a shot next month.

The goal of the trial at Stanford Health Care, the only site on the West Coast to test the Pfizer vaccine in children younger than 5, is to identify the strongest dose with the fewest side effects.

As adult vaccinations expand, an increasing number of grownups can socialize, blissfully mask-free. About 75 million American adults are now fully vaccinated.

But children remain unprotected.

The lack of youth vaccines affects the general population, not just individual families, said experts. Because about one-quarter of all Americans are under the age of 18, the nation won’t reach herd immunity without inoculating young people.

“We want to make sure that children have access to vaccines not just for themselves but for the community,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a Stanford professor of pediatrics and infectious disease and the principal investigator of the trial.

If the research is successful and vaccines are authorized, “the kids will contribute to the community ‘force field’ against COVID,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at UC San Francisco, who is not involved in the Stanford research. “We need everyone in the population immunized.”

Chin-Hong, a father of two, said there is an additional concern: Children’s potential vulnerability to new variants.

Topic Discussed: Stanford begins testing Pfizer vaccine in babies and young children

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