GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - Dr. Andy Atz says he expects the first trial shots of the MUSC Moderna children’s vaccine to be in the arms of older children ages 6 to 12 by mid-summer.
“It’s going to have a very slow ramp up," he explained, “making sure that the vaccine is safe in these much younger children."
He says the safety of the MUSC Moderna trials will be the top priority, which is why the first months will be about something he calls “dose finding.”
“Specifically, enrolling a very small number of children to figure out what the right doses are for that particular age group,” he said.
When we asked the doctor what that would look like, he explained that it’s really about 3 separate age groups being studied:
Each group—ages 6 months to 2 years, 2 years to 6 years, and 6 years to 12 years – will get its own unique level of dosage appropriate for their age range. It’s something he says is very different from adult vaccine trials, where all adults usually get the same level of vaccines.
Atz also says they plan to study a variety of children from different backgrounds, with various health conditions.
“There’s a lot of difference between a six-month-old and an 11-year-old," the doctor said.
“What is different about this," he added, “is I have never tested a drug in a child that has already been given to tens of millions, and probably hundreds of millions of adults across the world, before we start testing in children. So this is not a complete unknown."
He says the more data he looks at, the more optimistic he is.
“I am as confident as I possibly can be that this is a very safe thing to do," Dr. Atz said.
That’s music to the ears of parents like Emily Phalen, who has two kids ages 5 and 10.
“I think we’ve already seen enough information on the adults that I’m not worried too much about the children,“ Phalen said, echoing Atz's thoughts.
She says she knows there are others in the Upstate who may be more hesitant than she is to give their children the vaccine. But for her, it comes down to what she feels is more unknown.
“I feel much better with a vaccination than I do with my kids risking getting something that could have long-term consequences," she said, comparing and contrasting the known mild side effects of the vaccine with the possible long-term side effects of COVID-19.
Dr. Atz says that even if all goes well, the general population most likely won’t see the vaccine rolled out for children on a massive scale until the year after next, but that could always change.
He says the most important thing you and loved ones around you can do now to protect your children from contracting the virus is to get vaccinated yourself.