A child smiling
By Michael Haederle

A Shot at Success

UNM Launches Clinical Trial of Moderna COVID Vaccine for Children

University of New Mexico School of Medicine researchers have begun enrolling children in a clinical trial to test the safety and efficacy of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Sixty New Mexico children ages 6 through 12 are being enrolled in the first phase of the trial, said Walter Dehority, MD, MSc, an infectious disease specialist and associate professor in the UNM Department of Pediatrics who serves as principal investigator for the study.

UNM is one of 88 sites in the U.S. and Canada participating in Moderna’s KidCOVE Study, which aims to enroll close to 7,000 children and follow them for about 14 months, Dehority said.

In the randomized double blind controlled study children receive either a placebo or the first dose of the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine when they enroll, then return about a month later for the second shot, he said.

Parents and children will be asked to return to the UNM Clinical & Translational Science Center for follow-up testing in subsequent months, and there will be at least two visits with the research team after each injection.

The UNM team is still awaiting the start date for participating in the next two phases of the trial, which will enroll children ages 2 to 6 and 6 months to 2 years and are expected to start later in the fall.

The last day for enrollment of the first group of children is this Friday (August 27), says Hengameh Raissy, PharmD, Research Professor in Pediatrics and co-principal investigator on the study (other co-PIs include fellow Pediatrics faculty members Chandler Todd, MD, and Matthew Kadish, MD).

UNM is in a unique position to include a larger proportion of Hispanic and Native American children in the study than sites located elsewhere in the country, Raissy says.

The team has been working from a list of names compiled since UNM’s involvement in the study was first announced last spring, and may still need parents willing to enroll children in younger age groups.

“We are enrolling kids every day,” Raissy says. “I have been getting a lot of calls.” Parents interested in having their child participate should call 505-272-HOPE.

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