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There is still no vaccine for kids under 12 | Here's why

Clinical trials are underway in hopes of developing a vaccine that is safe and effective for young children.

ATLANTA — COVID-19 cases among young children are climbing as parents wonder when pharmaceutical companies will release a vaccine for kids under the age of 12.

It’s a bit like Goldilocks testing bowls of portage. Scientists are in the process of developing a COVID-19 vaccine for children that is just right.

Months after adults started rolling up their sleeves, parents are wondering when their school-age kids will get a shot in the arm.

“It’s very complex,” Dr. Grace Gowda, of the University of Georgia’s College of Pharmacy, said.

Before FDA Approval or even an Emergency Use Authorization, vaccines are tested in clinical trials. In this case, manufacturers had to find healthy children willing to take the vaccine in order to test the effectiveness and safety.

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“It’s very hard to recruit patients,” Dr. Gowda said. “How many of us will volunteer our children to be in trials?”

Pfizer and Moderna began their pediatric clinical trials over the spring and summer, roughly a year after similar trials in older patients. Dr. Gowda said manufactures used that year to evaluate data on safety and effectiveness to decide how many doses to give children during the pediatric trials.

“It’s a standard practice,” Dr. Gowda said. “In children we want to be a little bit more cautious because they’re developing rather than fully developed human beings.”

Because children are growing and changing, one age group may require more doses than another.

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Manufacturers may take as much as six months to evaluate the results of current clinical trials.

“It will give us an indication if there are nuances in safety that need to be considered before we give it to children,” Dr. Gowda said.

According to the CDC, at the end of July only 32% of the eligible adolescents were fully vaccinated. Less than half of the nation’s 12- to- 7-year-olds had received a single dose.