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Rutgers announced last week that it is expanding enrollment for COVID vaccine trials to infants and toddlers. Rutgers, which is currently the only NJ site for the vaccine trial, says it is seeking children ages 6 months to 4 years for a trial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID to evaluate its efficacy in kids in this age group. 

“Children can get sick from COVID-19 and can spread the virus to others even if they are asymptomatic. While most children experience mild or no symptoms, some children can get severely ill and could have long-term effects,” said co-lead investigator Simon Li, an associate professor of pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. “Maximizing COVID-19 vaccination in all age groups is important to stop the global progression of the disease. Vaccination will also help us feel safer about our children resuming school and daily activities.”

The Pediatric Clinical Research Center at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick is one of the several clinical trial sites for Pfizer-BioNTech’s pediatric study, and the only one in New Jersey.

Rutgers is currently a trial site for Pfizer-BioNTech’s research on the efficacy of the COVID vaccine in kids ages 5 to 11. They also conducted trials for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

“Children who meet the eligibility requirements for this study will be randomly selected to receive two doses of the potential vaccine or a placebo six months after the second dose,” said a press release from Rutgers. “Those who participate will be told whether they received the vaccine or the placebo and will be offered the vaccine at that time if they had not been vaccinated. Researchers will track whether those who were vaccinated have lower rates of infection with moderate to severe symptoms than those who were unvaccinated over two years.”

The news comes as many kids ages 5-11 across the Garden State have gotten their first doses of the lower-dose COVID vaccine.

Pediatricians and parents who are interested in their children being considered for the vaccine clinical trial can click here to register.

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