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Upstate Medical One of Few Places Nationwide to Hold Coronavirus Vaccine Trials on Kids Under 5


  Upstate Medical University will be one of the first places in the world to hold Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids under 5 years old when the study begins on April 5th.  Healthy children will have to provide blood samples for 2 years to assess their long term response to the vaccine. 



Medical Professor of Pediatrics and Immunology Joseph Domachowske is the Lead Investigator for the trials.  He says parents should consider enrolling their children to keep them and their community safe.


“Children are relatively spared, just proportionally they really don’t get that sick. But those that do can get very sick. We’ve had several kids at the hospital here locally with severe illness. But my concern is also that the ones that don’t get very sick or have no symptoms at all; they’re out in the community. They can spread their infection very easily.”  said Domachowske.


The trials only move forward after smaller doses are incrementally administered and tolerated without any problems.  After that, more kids will be slowly introduced to slightly higher doses. 

Everyone involved is eventually vaccinated, though a group of kids receive a placebo for the first six months of the study as a control group.  Domachowske says widening the trial to children over 5 years old is the next step.


“Kids who have already had their 5th birthday have to wait unfortunately until early June. That’s largely because we need to figure out the best dose to use first for the 2-5 year olds and then for the 6 months to 2 year olds. So we want to get the dose right for each of the 3 age groups and then we’ll launch the big trial in very early June.” said Domachowske.


Parents with children who are 5 years of age and above can register in May.  Registration begins next week for kids under 5 years of age.  The number for the Upstate Pfizer COVID vaccine study is (315) 706-5636. 

Earlier studies showed that 12-15-year-olds can safely take the Pfizer vaccine. Domachowske expects emergency authorization for younger groups by tthe end of the year, if the trials progress without significant side effects, and dosage can be fine-tuned.