Moderna vaccine trials for children to start soon in Hidalgo County

3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago Sunday, September 26 2021 Sep 26, 2021 September 26, 2021 11:07 AM September 26, 2021 in News - Local

Moderna vaccine trials for children will soon be underway in the Valley. Researchers are looking to gather data for children six months to six years of age.

Last week alone, nearly 800 children ages 11 or younger were infected with COVID-19 in Hidalgo County, according to data released by the Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Department.

"This is the highest risk group right now and that they're the ones that are keeping the virus viable because it's in that population and that even though the death rate is very low, some still die," said Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez.

On Wednesday, an 11-day-old baby girl died due to COVID-19, making her the sixth child lost to the virus in Hidalgo County since the start of the pandemic and the third this year.

READ ALSO: 11-day-old baby girl dies of COVID-19 in Hidalgo County, health authority confirms  

"Now we're at the stage where this subgroup of population that is having the highest numbers and three deaths in the last three weeks in our community, so it's not like they're not dying," Dr. Melendez said. 

But Dr. Melendez says there is hope in the form of a vaccine. Right now, the COVID-19 shot is only available to kids 12 and up. Pfizer has announced trials for children between 5 to 11 years old. Moderna is doing the same and Dr. Melendez says they're now calling on Valley doctors and parents to help.

"We started doing the pediatric, the six to 12-year-olds about three months ago; we enrolled around 135 people," Dr. Melendez said. "And then now we're going to start enrolling people that are six months old to less than six years."

READ ALSO: ‘No one is immune:’ 9-year-old Mercedes girl dies of COVID complications, Hidalgo County health authority confirms  

According to Melendez, doctors like him who are doing the research will be looking at antibody levels over a period of time.

"The risk factor is pretty low," Dr. Melendez said. "The issue is, what is the appropriate dosage and how efficacious is it? Different age groups have different immunity capacity, so now we're seeing these trials that are focusing on these people that up to this point had not had an opportunity."

The data collected will help large pharmaceuticals when asking for FDA approval for this age group.

If you're interested in having your child participate, reach out to your child's pediatrician or family doctor.

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