Rachael DiFransico’s 14-month-old daughter Sybil chewed on a plastic toy at a doctor’s office in the Cleveland suburbs while waiting one recent day to enroll in a study testing whether a Covid-19 vaccine works safely in children.
“This trial is our best shot at getting the vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Ms. DiFransico, who said she wanted Sybil to be able to spend more time with other children and extended family. “We want some semblance of normalcy for her.”
Many parents across the U.S. are racing to put their children in Covid-19 vaccine trials to try to protect them from the virus sooner rather than later.
The shots haven’t been proved to work safely for youngsters, and child volunteers in later-stage trials may get a placebo, rather than the vaccine. Yet parents said they were willing to take the chance and submit their children to the trials’ blood draws, Covid-19 tests and appointments to safeguard them, as well as their family and classmates.
The contagious Delta variant and start of a new school year have added to the urgency, parents said.
Children under age 12 are the last group in the U.S. that doesn’t have access to an authorized Covid-19 vaccine. The youngsters, though at relatively low risk of severe disease and hospitalizations, are going to the hospital in greater numbers than earlier in the pandemic because of Delta’s spread primarily among unvaccinated people.