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Pediatric trial of COVID-19 vaccine coming to Charlotte

Dr. Arin Piramzadian, Chief Medical Officer at StarMed, said they are the only ones to be selected in North Carolina for the Moderna trial.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — StarMed Healthcare has been selected to take part in Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine study for children. The vaccine trial will research the shot's effectiveness on kids aged 6 months to 11 years old, according to StarMed Healthcare Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arin Piramzadian.  

Piramzadian said StarMed applied to be a part of the study two months ago and got approval on Wednesday. 

"There's nothing more amazing than this," Piramzadian told WCNC Charlotte's Hunter Sáenz over the phone after receiving their news. 

Moderna's KidCOVE study started earlier in March in other parts of the United States and Canada. 

It will research the Moderna vaccine's effectiveness on 6,750 children ranging in age from 6 months to 11 years old. 

Piramzadian said children from the Charlotte area can participate. 

StarMed told WCNC Charlotte's Hunter Sáenz that the phone number has been overwhelmed with calls from parents interested in getting their kids involved in the trial. Parents interested in the trial can call 1-800-785-3150 or email: Participate@onsiteclinical.com.

RELATED: StarMed gives hope to west Charlotte in first drive-thru vaccine clinic

If selected, the child would receive the vaccine at one of StarMed's clinics and then be monitored for a year by researchers as the study continues. 

"Honestly this is absolutely amazing. It feels like all this time we've been catching up to COVID and now it feels like we're getting ahead of ahead," Piramzadian said. 

Piramzadian said there are only a handful of locations around the U.S. that are taking part in the study.

The news comes as Pfizer announced its study shows its vaccine is 100% effective in kids from 12 to 15 years old. 

RELATED: Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine protects younger teens

"This could bring us back normalcy," Piramzadian said. 

StarMed is the same organization administering COVID-19 shots for adult patients scheduling coronavirus vaccinations through the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

Results also are expected by the middle of this year from a U.S. study of Moderna’s vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds.

There is currently no COVID-19 vaccine publicly available to anyone age 15 or younger in the United States outside of trials.

In South Carolina, those 16 years of age and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine.

RELATED: Anyone 16 and up in South Carolina can now get the COVID vaccine

In North Carolina, vaccine eligibility opens up to those 16 years of age and older on April 7.

RELATED: Registration system crashes as Mecklenburg Co. opens vaccine appointments to adults 16 & older

In a sign that the preliminary findings were promising in pediatrics studies, the FDA already allowed both Moderna and Pfizer companies to begin U.S. studies in children 11 and younger, working their way to as young as 6-month-old.

AstraZeneca last month began a study of its vaccine among 6- to 17-year-olds in Britain. Johnson & Johnson is planning its own pediatric studies. And in China, Sinovac recently announced it has submitted preliminary data to Chinese regulators showing its vaccine is safe in children as young as 3.

While most COVID-19 vaccines being used globally were first tested in tens of thousands of adults, pediatric studies won’t need to be nearly as large. Scientists have safety information from those studies and subsequent vaccinations in millions more adults.

One key question is the dosage: Pfizer gave the 12-and-older participants the same dose adults receive while testing different doses in younger children.

It's not clear how quickly the FDA would act on Pfizer's request to allow vaccination starting at age 12. Another question is when the country would have enough shots and people to get them into adolescents' arms — to let kids start getting in line.

Supplies are set to steadily increase over the spring and summer, at the same time states are opening vaccinations to younger, healthier adults who until now haven't had a turn.

Children represent about 13% of COVID-19 cases documented in the U.S. And while children are far less likely than adults to get seriously ill, at least 268 have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone and more than 13,500 have been hospitalized, according to a tally by the American Academy of Pediatrics. That’s more than die from the flu in an average year. Additionally, a small number have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus.

Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan.

The Associated Press and Tegna contributed to this report


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