Pediatric Associates of Charlottesville conducting new COVID-19 vaccine trial

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 5:55 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial is already underway, this time for kids ages 6 months to 5 years old. There’s a research site in Charlottesville, and so far, people have been eager to be a part of it.

“I feel like every day I have at least five people calling me, which is different,” Pediatric Associates Primary Clinical Research Coordinator Grace Royster said. “We don’t usually have people knocking on the door to get in to a research study.”

There aren’t many trial sites in Virginia, so people are traveling from all over to join the one with Pediatric Associates.

“I mean, we’ve gotten people from outside of the Charlottesville area that have called us about bringing their kids from Northern Virginia down to participate in the study,” Principal Investigator for Pediatric Research Dr. Paul Wisman said.

While this sort of reaction to a vaccine trial is new for Pediatric Associates, it’s also encouraging.

“They’re excited about providing some improvement to the world,” Wisman said.

Pediatric Associates did a similar study for the 5-11 year Pfizer vaccine. Two thirds of participants will get the actual vaccine, the rest, a placebo.

“It’s a phase two, three trial, which means that essentially, we’re looking for side effects,” Royster said. “We’ve already have a set dose, we’re not testing that. But we’re looking to see any side effects that the vaccine causes and any possible reactions that kids could have.”

So far, it’s been harder for these participants to tell which dose they received.

“Most kids don’t have any reaction,” Wisman said. “So even that’s not very helpful, as if you’ve been vaccinated, you know that some good percentage of adults got sore arms or others, but most of the kids haven’t even had that.”

The staff gave out 15 doses last week, and will administer another 25 this week. They are currently taking enrollment for the December trial, but there is already a waitlist.

“We are prioritizing the under 2-year-old age group, so 6 months to 2 years because that’s been the harder age group to enroll for globally, not just at our site,” Royster. “We’re also prioritizing patients of color because we need diversity in this study.”

If you want to get on the waitlist for the trial, you can contact Pediatric Associates at 434-872-9384. The only restriction is they cannot take immunocompromised children.

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