By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Moderna is expanding its vaccine trials to younger children.

The drugmaker was already testing vaccines on 12 to 17-year-olds. The trials will now include 11-year-olds and eventually go down to six-month-olds.

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A Baltimore pediatrician was among those who helped write the safety guides on how the trials will be conducted.

“I think parents should have a lot of confidence that tens of millions of adults have gotten the vaccine then it’s likely that the side effect profile is going to be very similar in children,” said Dr. James Campbell, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

He spoke about the need to vaccinate kids.

“More than 12,000 kids of been hospitalized in more than three million children have been infected, so it’s not a mild disease in children. It is milder than in adults, but if you compared it to other infections that children get and other diseases that we vaccinate against, it’s a severe disease. We should have a vaccine for children to protect them,” Campbell added.

One Baltimore teen, Tyona Montgomery, thought she had beaten the virus, but weeks later a deadly COVID-related inflammatory condition emerged.

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She was in the hospital for two weeks.

“She had fluid on her lungs, she had heart failure, her insides were inflamed,” her mother, Kristina Reynolds, recalled.

If the vaccine is approved for children, older kids could get it as early as this fall.

“We anticipate we’ll have enough data to be able to vaccinate these younger children by the first quarter of 2022,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Campbell said a little more than 6,000 children will be registered nationwide, and if anything seems off the trials will be halted for additional investigation.

To learn more or to register, click here.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett