COVID-19 vaccine trials underway in Houston for children under age 2

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 years old by next week. Meanwhile, Pfizer found that its vaccine, which is authorized for those 16 and older, also provides protection for the younger group.

READ MORE: FDA expected to OK Pfizer vaccine for teens within week

And in Houston, a trial is underway for children under the age of two.

On Tuesday, Eyewitness News spoke with Dr. Thao Galvan, an assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine in the department of surgery. She's also an abdominal transplant surgeon and one of the first Houston-area mothers to sign up their child for the trial.

"When Nathan was born, I remember actually watching the news from my hospital bed seeing accounts of the coronavirus happening in Wuhan," said Galvan. "This very much has been a part of the arch of his life, for Nathan, my son."

Baby Nathan was born in December 2019. Months later, the virus became a global pandemic. Nathan's mother is a transplant physician and was returning to work in a time of the unknown.

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UTHealth is currently conducting a national study that will enroll 4,000 pregnant women on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.



"Initially, it was nerve-racking, but then we started to learn more and we got a handle of how to deal with it specifically with our transplant recipients," she said.

Then, as the months passed, things improved.

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Doctors have said it's important to get children vaccinated to reach that community protection that is needed in order to get back to normal. Here's why these two teens decided to sign up for a trial for kids.



"Then, the vaccines came and that was such a breath of fresh air for so many of us," she said.

While Galvan was protected from the virus, her two young children, both who are under the age of 12, were not, but now, trials are underway. Dr. Flor Munoz is leading that effort for Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. Munoz is the principal investigator for the Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children's Hospital site for Pfizer's pediatric trials.

"For children under 12, we need to understand a dose that will be well-tolerated," she said.

Galvan enrolled Nathan in a phase 1 trial for children younger than two years old, which helps determine the appropriate dosage of vaccine for children.

READ MORE: Children as young as 6 months old now in COVID-19 vaccine trials

Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital are also participating in phase II and phase III of the Pfizer vaccine trial for children six months to 11 years old.

"Getting to a place where we can protect the community, the population in this country against COVID, requires that we include children as well," said Munoz.

As for baby Nathan, he's already received his first dose and doing great, according to his mom. His 3-year-old brother is also signed up for a trial, too. Born on the cusp of a pandemic, at 14-months-old, little Nathan is now helping fight it.

"I'm very proud of him. I hope when he looks back, he'll be proud of himself. I know that I'm very proud, my husband ... we're very proud of him," said Galvan.

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