KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Pediatric vaccine trials are ramping up across the United States.

Moderna became the first U.S. drugmaker to vaccinate children this week, as it entered it’s Phase 2/3. Moderna will enroll approximately 6,750 children in the U.S. and Canada ages 6 months to less than 12 years old.

Children’s Mercy Kansas City is enrolling children into the vaccine trial. Even though a start date has not been set for the trial, it could start by the end of March or early April.

The pediatric vaccine trials for the COVID-19 vaccine are important because both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson can only vaccinate adults. Pfizer is approved for ages 16 and up.

Dr. Kevin Ault, OBGYN at the University of Kansas Health Systems and member of the federal advisory panel for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, CDC ACIP, says trials will likely test adolescents then go down in age groups.

Studies look for safety, efficacy and dosing. Even though coronavirus has not impacted children as much compared to older adults, doctors still need to gather data on the effects of the vaccine on kids.

“We’re trying to decrease the dosing to try to find the right dose for them. We’re trying to make sure there aren’t any safety signals that are unique to that population,” explained Dr. Ault.

Specific enrollment requirements will vary from trial to trial, but typically participants visit with doctors frequently at the beginning of the trial for safety reasons. Visits are spaced out more later on in the trial to check for long-term effects and antibody levels. Participants are expected to monitor their symptoms.

In cases of an infant, doctors rely on objective data such as fever, drowsiness, etc. On average, trials last two years. Because of the nature of emergency during the pandemic, some adult trials for COVID-19 were completed in months before vaccine distribution began.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in a vaccine trial, contact your local hospital or primary physician/pediatrician.

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