COVID vaccine for kids: Trial continues as school year nears

The medical community is racing to study how effective COVID-19 vaccines are in children, and part of that work is centered in Wisconsin.

With the first day of school, if it hasn't already come, just two weeks away for most districts, the principal investigator for the UW Health Moderna Pediatric Vaccine Trial said his team understands time is of the essence – but they won't cut corners on safety.

As classrooms will soon be full of students and teachers for a third school year impact by COVID-19, the numbers show the pandemic isn't over just yet. The delta variant is fueling more cases, including in children.

"Over the past three weeks here in Milwaukee County, the proportion of kids as a proportion of total COVID cases has been slightly higher than 20%," said Darren Rausch with the Greenfield Health Department.

That is why UW Health's Dr. William Hartman and his team are eager to study how effective the Moderna vaccine will be in children between 6 months and 12 years old.

"What we know is that the kids don't need as high a dose as the adults do, and so the dose in this initial group of kids, the 6 to 12-year-olds, has been reduced by about half," Hartman said.

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

Announced on Aug. 12, the study has already hit its recruiting goal of nearly 4,000 kids nationwide. It comes as school boards across the country debate back-to-school safety plans, vaccine requirements for staff and mask mandates for everyone.

"It's important, especially as school is just about to begin and kids are going to be congregating in close spaces," said Hartman.

Classroom during COVID-19 pandemic

Health experts insist the best path forward is getting a vaccine.

"We need to vaccinate ourselves out of this problem. COVID will not simply go away," said Rausch.

UW Health said participation in the trial is a 14-month commitment with follow-up appointments. Hartman said he thinks the vaccines could be approved for children by Christmas.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.


COVID vaccines, delta breakthrough cases: What it means

Doctors say the announcement of added COVID-19 vaccine doses amid a delta variant surge does not mean the vaccines are ineffective.


Cedarburg parents push school mask requirement, board meets

The Cedarburg School Board met Wednesday night, Aug. 18. Masking wasn't on the agenda, but parents still showed up hoping to talk about it.


UW-Madison mandates COVID tests for unvaccinated students, staff

University of Wisconsin-Madison students and staff who can't or won't show proof of vaccination will have to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.