DELAND, Fla. – As more Floridians get the COVID-19 vaccine, local doctors are now shifting the focus on getting children the shots.
Dr. Bruce Rankin with Accel Clinical Research said it’s time to take the next step in vaccinations so we can bring an end to the pandemic.
“We need to get into the adolescence and the children,” Rankin said.
Rankin is the medical director for the DeLand facility. The site has been conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials in adults since last summer. He said they will soon start a COVID-19 pediatric vaccine trial.
“They’re almost a quarter of our whole population and they can continue to cause spread,” Rankin said.
Pfizer is expected to get FDA emergency use authorization by next week to start vaccinating children ages 12 to 15.
Orlando’s Nona Pediatrics Center is conducting Moderna pediatric vaccine trials on children ages 12 to 17.
Accel will start a trial for the Novavax vaccine for children ages 12 to 17 in a couple weeks. The vaccine isn’t approved yet but is being reviewed in the U.S., Europe, the U.K, and Canada.
Rankin said vaccinating children will play a big role in reaching herd immunity.
“We need to have those age groups vaccinated so we can get to a place to slow down the spread of the illness,” Rankin said.
Orlando pediatrician Dr. Candice Jones said she is encouraging parents of her patients to get the vaccine. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children make up 22% of the nation’s COVID cases.
“If you can remember just last year around the time this got started they were only 2% and 9% so this is an ongoing increase,” Jones said.
Jones said the vaccine will protect children, especially as they go back to school next year now that several Central Florida school districts won’t offer hybrid learning options.
Jones adds even though children are less likely to suffer severe symptoms, she is telling families to not take the risk and get your kids vaccinated.
“You don’t know which kid is going to sick and which kid is not going to get sick and I don’t want to play that guessing game with my son and certainly not my patients,” Jones said.
Accel Clinical Research is still enrolling patients to participate in the Novavax pediatric vaccine trial.