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Jacksonville doctor expects children's vaccine ready by Thanksgiving as wait list for clinical trials grows

UF Health Jacksonville has about 500 children on its waiting list for clinical trials.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Eagerness for a COVID-19 vaccine for children is growing, and a timeline is getting clearer. 

A former FDA commissioner now on Pfizer's board of directors says Pfizer should have data from their clinical trials before the end of the month. Children under 12 still cannot get the vaccine.

UF Health Jacksonville Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Mobeen Rathore expects there to be a Pfizer vaccine with FDA-emergency use approval for children ages 5 to 11 by Thanksgiving. Rathore says they have about 500 children on the waiting list for their clinical trials.

A mother in Camden County enrolled her 5-year-old son in their clinical trial in hopes of getting him vaccinated sooner. An essential worker at a grocery store, Rebecca Kennedy says she tested positive for COVID-19 multiple times before the vaccine was available. There still isn't one available for her son Trevon.

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"The other day I told him I was going to quarantine him," Kennedy said.

This is an all too common occurrence at her home, according to Kennedy. 

"I want him to get vaccinated," Kennedy said. "When millions of people are dying, we got to do better."

Pfizer plans to have its trial data by the end of the month, filing for emergency use authorization with the FDA after. Pfizer and Moderna recently expanded their vaccine trials for children 5 to 11 years old.

"This is a dose-finding study," Rathore said.

Rathore says safety is a main component with a vaccine for children.

"With this recent surge affecting children, rightly so parents are concerned, and the level of interest has really skyrocketed," he said.

Rathore says until children can get vaccinated it's important to "cocoon" them by making sure they're surrounded by people who are vaccinated and wear masks.

A vaccine for children younger than 5 years old comes after this, but there's no specific timeline on that yet.

Learn more about UF Health Jacksonville's clinical trials here.

Learn more about the process the FDA takes in approving a vaccine here.

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