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Spots still available in COVID-19 vaccine trial for children, Lake Nona pediatrician says

Trial is for children ages 12 to 17

LAKE NONA, Fla. – Nona Pediatrics on Lee Vista Boulevard in Orlando is running a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial for children.

The trial is at a practice in Lake Nona through Accel Research and the only location running the trial in Florida.

“I am only the site in the state of Florida doing this. We will be starting [Thursday],” Dr. Salma Elfaki said. “It’s overwhelming and crazy, but I am honored and really excited to be a part of hopefully getting us out of this situation.”

The trial for children ages 12 to 17 will begin on Thursday with more than 400 children on the list wanting to participate.

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Elfaki said she usually has trouble recruiting people for research trials but not during the pandemic.

“I have a huge waitlist,” she said. “People want to be a part of the solution, everyone wants to do what they can so we can go back to normal.”

She said Accel provided the equipment, specialized refrigerators, and staff to help run the trial. Elfaki said it’s common to run several clinical trials in children for different medications from the flu to meningitis.

“You will have some ask, ‘Why would you put up your kid to experiment for something?’ The good thing is we have safety data, we know how the vaccine works.”

Phase 3 of the clinical trial for the Moderna vaccine showed 94% effectiveness in adults.

The children will be getting the same vaccine as the adults.

“Once you show that you have the effectiveness in the adult population, then you can understand how the body process it,” she said. “You can transfer it to older kids and teenagers and tweak those dynamics more as you take it to a younger population as well.”

The trial ratio is two to one which means out of every three children, two will receive a vaccine. That means there’s a 67% chance a child receives the vaccine, unlike adult trials that were 50-50.

“We are developing treatments for our kids, you have to conduct clinical trials on them,” she said.

Pfizer has already conducted its clinical trials on 3,013 children ages 12-15, and 16-17. The results of those trials have not been published.

These Moderna trials at Nona Pediatric Center begin Thursday and will last about a year. The children will be seen by health officials six times throughout that year while receiving compensation. Accel Research is still actively recruiting for the Moderna trial for children through the end of this month.

Anyone interested in signing up their child for the trial can click on this link.


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