KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Phase 1 of the Pfizer vaccine trials is currently underway at Children’s Mercy Hospital. The studies included children 6 months to 11 years old.
For Kansas City residents, Michael and Johanna Kelley, enrolling their 2-year-old daughter Nora in the lawsuit meant protecting her from COVID-19.
“I am much more confident in a vaccine that millions of people have received than a virus that has killed millions of people,” said Johanna Kelley.
That’s the short and simple answer she gives when asked why she thinks a COVID-19 vaccine is safe for her daughter.
The pair saw firsthand what COVID-19 can do when Michael Kelley’s parents tested positive for the virus.
“Seeing your parents in the hospital and wondering if this is the last time I’ll see them is unbelievably scary,” he said.
Nora received her first dose of Pfizer vaccine in mid-April. They, and the other pediatric participants, receive a much smaller amount of the vaccine than adults. The first phase of the research is aimed at finding the right amount of vaccine for children in the age group.
Researchers then test her antibodies through blood samples and cotton swabs to see if she reaches the same level as adults.
Dr. Barbara Pahud, research director of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases at Children’s Mercy, is leading the trial. Pahud said the hospital is working to make the experience as comfortable as possible for little ones like Nora.
“We’re going to give drugs to the kids before they have their blood drawn,” Pahud said.
Nora’s parents say the trials give them peace of mind. They trust that she is in good hands. Plus, they say she’s a tough cookie.
“She’s a trooper, and she can roll pretty well with anything and some ice here and there doesn’t hurt either,” said Michael Kelley.
There is no set date for the start of Phase 2, where participants are randomized in a 2: 1 ratio to receive an active vaccine or placebo.