Houston-area 4th grader participating in Moderna pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trial

Local researchers working on COVID-19 vaccine for children

FOX 26 reporter Natalie Hee has more on what some local investigators are doing to help in the fight against COVID-19.

HOUSTON – Assisting individuals in the Houston area with the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trials.

Ruth Lopez is feeling a little more comfortable than most parents as her 9-year-old son, Marcelo, returned to school on Monday in Houston ISD.

“I just have a lot more peace of mind. Of course I’m nervous,” said Lopez.

The fourth-grader is one of thousands of children in the US now participating in Moderna’s pediatric COVID vaccine trial.


In May, Marcelo received his first dose at Baylor College of Medicine.

“He had redness around his arm. It was a little swollen on the side of the vaccine and then he had a red rash that appears in some cases. And that went away on its own.”

“Marcelo has asthma and so we were definitely concerned when we read about risk factors that you might know lead to more side effects,” Lopez said.

Lopez says that since Marcelo entered phase two of the trial, which looks at dosages for different age groups of children, he has received the actual vaccine.

According to Baylor Clinician Scientist, Dr. Erin Nicholson, the Moderna trial is now in Phase 3, which includes randomized trials where some kids are given a placebo, not the actual injection.


Currently, researchers are recruiting more than 13,000 children in the US to participate.

“We want to make sure this is safe. We want to make sure it’s effective,” said Dr. Nicholson.

“We’ll always like to say in pediatrics, kids are not little adults, they react differently, their bodies are different, their physiology is different. So we can’t just say, okay, I’ve got the dosage and this is fine. And so should we’re very diligent about how we look at safety,” said Dr. Nicholson.

The trial will test three separate age groups of children, starting with 6- to 12-year-olds, then begin recruiting children aged 2 to under 6, and finally, 6-month-old newborns to 2-year-olds.


dr. Nicholson says the goal is to get a COVID vaccine for children 12 and under by the end of the year.

Marcelo and his parents are now committed to monitoring possible symptoms and monitoring his vital signs for the following year.

Pfizer and Moderna have previously said they hope to share their results in September or October. Depending on their findings, the companies will then apply for emergency clearance after the data is released.

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