Local pediatrician says vaccinating kids for COVID-19 could help their mental health

Coronavirus

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Trials are underway to test COVID-19 vaccines on kids as young as 6 months. Doctors say it could help both their physical and mental health.

“We are dying to get our hands on approved vaccines for these kids,” said Dr. Carly Ryan, a pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of Savannah.

Ryan says her urgency to vaccinate children isn’t just about slowing infections.

She says since the pandemic started more of her patients are struggling with anxiety and depression. She says it’s likely due to isolation and fear.

“I think trying to get them vaccinated will help curve obviously the pandemic, but also trying to get them back to this normal lifestyle that they need in order to grow into functioning, socially developed adults,” said Ryan.

Currently, Pfizer is running a vaccine trial with kids ages 6 months to 11 years old. The first phase will enroll 144 children and will test three different dosages of the vaccine.

Ryan says the dosage size matters because children are physically smaller than adults.

“When it comes to children I feel like everybody is a little bit more on the cautious side,” said Ryan.

“I wouldn’t say it’s more dangerous to find a vaccine for children, but trying to find a safe and efficacious dose for them is going to be the tricky part,” she added.

Concrete data on the trials likely won’t come out for another six months.

Phase 2 and 3 will involve roughly 4,500 participants from both the United States and Europe. This part of the trial is testing safety and effectiveness. Some kids will be given the vaccine and others a placebo.

“Assuming no unturned events have occurred those who got placebo will be obviously then eligible to get the vaccine,” said Dr. Lawton Davis, director of the Coastal Health District.

The vaccine is currently authorized for emergency use in people ages 16 and older. Davis says if all goes well, the vaccine could be granted emergency use authorization for children by next year.

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