Children and COVID-19 Vaccines with William Muller, MD, PhD
COVID-19 vaccines are being doled out across the nation, almost exclusively to adults. Pfizer's vaccine has been authorized for ages 16 and up and Moderna's vaccine for 18 and up. So when might younger children be vaccinated for COVID-19? And what needs to happen before then? Northwestern's William Muller, MD, PhD, offers insight.
"I think it's underappreciated when we talk about herd immunity that a quarter of the population is under 18. It's really impossible to expect that we would be able to protect the entire population by only vaccinating adults or by only having immunity in adults."
- Associate Chief Research Officer for Clinical Trials, Department of Pediatrics
- Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases
- Member of Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
- Attending physician, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
In this episode, William Muller, MD, PhD, reviews what scientists have learned in the year since the first pediatric cases of COVID-19 were discovered. He explains how COVID-19 typically presents in children and then details the steps and timeline to achieving an effective vaccine for children.
Other topics covered:
- Although the death rate of COVID-19 is higher in adults, COVID-19 is not a benign disease in children. Muller describes severe post-infection manifestations in some children called multi-system inflammatory syndrome. From a treatment standpoint, he says, we need to take pediatric COVID seriously.
- He discusses his recent studies that found lower levels of virus in asymptomatic pediatric patients, stressing that these children can still spread the virus in the community.
- Lurie Children's and Northwestern are preparing to be a site for upcoming pediatric vaccine trials. Muller says parents have already registered more than 10,000 children in Lurie Children's Hospital SARS-CoV-2 Pediatric Vaccine Trial Registry.
- If all goes according to plan, Muller expects it will be early 2022 before a vaccine is authorized for the under-12 population.
Additional Reading and Resources:
- Sign up for the SARS-CoV-2 Pediatric Vaccine Trial Registry.
- Read Age-Related Differences in Nasopharyngeal Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Levels in Patients With Mild to Moderate Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in JAMA Pediatrics.
- Read Comparison of Upper Respiratory Viral Load Distributions in Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Children Diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Pediatric Hospital Testing Programs in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.
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Recorded on March 1, 2021.
Continuing Medical Education Credit
Physicians who listen to this podcast may claim continuing medical education credit after listening to an episode of this program.
Academic/Research, Multiple specialties
At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:
- Identify the research interests and initiatives of Feinberg faculty.
- Discuss new updates in clinical and translational research.
The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Credit Designation Statement
The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine designates this Enduring Material for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
William Muller, MD, PhD, conducts contracted research with Astellas, Inc., Merck, Sharpe and Dohme, Gilead, Ansun BioPharma, Melinta, Tetraphase, Nabriva, Roche, Janssen, AstraZeneca, and BD. Muller also serves as a consultant for Seqirus and Adagio Therapeutics. Course director, Robert Rosa, MD, has nothing to disclose. Planning committee member, Erin Spain, has nothing to disclose. Feinberg School of Medicine's CME Leadership and Staff have nothing to disclose: Clara J. Schroedl, MD, Medical Director of CME, Sheryl Corey, Manager of CME, Allison McCollum, Senior Program Coordinator, Katie Daley, Senior Program Coordinator, and Rhea Alexis Banks, Administrative Assistant 2.