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DC pediatrician recruiting children for COVID vaccine trial

Spring Valley Pediatrics is recruiting 12 to 17-year-olds for a Novavax clinical trial.

WASHINGTON — A D.C. pediatrician is recruiting 100 children for a Novavax COVID vaccine clinical trial.

Spring Valley Pediatrics is partnering with Meridian Clinical Research for the trial.

“Kids aren't just little adults, and so it's really important that we study the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and treatments, devices, all specifically in children," physician and principal investigator for the trial, Dr. Joanna Sexter said. "And we know that we have to vaccinate kids to get them back safely and fully to daycares and schools."

Dr. Sexter said the trial will last two years, and each child will receive two doses 21 days apart. She said there will also be 11 visits throughout the trial, some in-person, some virtual. And throughout the process, she said participants will be required to fill out electronic diaries.

She said it's a placebo-controlled trial, so some participants will receive the vaccine, and others the placebo.

“If they initially received the placebo, then at a particular point, during the course of the trial, they will have the opportunity to get the vaccine," Dr. Sexter said.

RELATED: 'It feels pretty historic' | Moderna starting vaccine clinical trial for kids

Dr. Sexter said they are enrolling 100 children aged 12 to 17. In the future, she said there should be trials for six to 11 years old.

Novavax, which is based in Gaithersburg, doesn't have U.S. approval yet. However, the company said in March that it is hoping to file with the FDA in the second quarter of 2021 -- which we're already in. 

“The more vaccines we have, the sooner we'll be able to get to the end of this," Dr. Sexter said. "And we're not going to have a vaccine if it's not studied. “

She said as a parent and a physician, she encourages parents to sign their kids up.

“We know because this is a phase three trial, that the safety portions of the trial have been completed. And we want to get our kids back to doing what they love to do," she said. "So I think that this is a an excellent way for kids to be able to get the vaccine as well as to contribute to the future of ending the pandemic.”

You can sign up for the trial here

Dr. Sexter said they'll start setting up appointments on May 6.

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