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Pharmaceutical companies begin testing COVID-19 vaccines on children



AUGUSTA, Ga.— The CDC says COVID-19 vaccines may not be recommended for children and pregnant women when they’re first released. Pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, are beginning to test their drugs on children — a crucial part of the approval process.

“If you don’t test it, you don’t have any safety data,” Dr. Rodger Macarthur, an infectious disease expert at Augusta University, explains. “Without any safety data, the vaccine won’t be approved for anyone not part of the clinical trials.

Vaccinating children ultimately comes down to parents. NewsChannel 6 asked several parents if they would be comfortable giving a COVID-19 vaccine to their children. Nichole Montgomery says she’s “not interested in putting something new in” her children’s bodies that she wouldn’t put in her own. Another mother, identified as Amber, says she and her husband would “absolutely” give a vaccine to their children “if it’s not harmful and can help in any way.”

Many schools and workplaces are counting on a vaccine to return some sense of normalcy, but, according to Dr. MacArthur, that may not happen as soon as some may think.

“Even when we have a vaccine, we’re likely to continue with social distancing until we get a sense of how efficacious the vaccine is, how many individuals are taking the vaccine, and how long the vaccine will provide any amount of protection,” MacArthur says.