HOUSTON - Houston-area individuals are helping with the pediatric COVID-19 vaccine trials.
Ruth Lopez feels a little more at ease than most parents, as her 9-year-old son, Marcelo, went back to school at Houston ISD Monday.
"I just have a lot more peace of mind. Of course, I'm nervous," said Lopez.
The 4th grader is one of thousands of kids across the U.S. now participating in Moderna’s pediatric COVID vaccine trial.
In May, Marcelo received his first dose at Baylor College of Medicine.
"He had redness around his arm. It was a little swollen on the side of the vaccine and then he had like a red rash that appears in some cases. And that went away on its own."
"Marcelo has asthma and so we were definitely growing concern as we were reading about risk factors of what could you know, lead to more adverse reactions," Lopez said.
Lopez says since Marcelo participated in phase two of the trial, which looks at dosages for various kid age groups, he received the actual vaccine.
According to Baylor Clinician Scientist, Dr. Erin Nicholson, the Moderna trial is now in phase 3, which includes randomized testing where some kids are getting a placebo, not the actual shot.
Currently, researchers are recruiting more than 13,000 children across the U.S. to participate.
"We want to make sure that this is safe. We want to make sure it's effective," Dr. Nicholson said.
"We will always like to say in pediatrics, children are not little adults, they react differently, their bodies are different, their physiology is different. So we can't just say, all right I'm having the dosage and this is fine. And so, we do have to be very diligent about how we look at safety," Dr. Nicholson said.
The trial will test three separate child age groups starting with 6-to-12-year-olds first, then begin recruiting for ages 2 to under 6 years, and lastly, 6-month-old newborns to 2-year-olds.
Dr. Nicholson says the goal is to get a COVID vaccine for kids 12 and under by the end of the year.
Marcelo and his parents are now committed to monitoring potential symptoms and tracking his vitals for the next year.
Pfizer and Moderna have previously said they hope to share their results by September or October. Depending on their findings, the companies will then apply for emergency authorization use after the data is released.