As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, UW Health said Monday its clinical trial of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in children under 12 — the only age group not yet eligible for vaccination in the United States — has already filled up after enrollment opened three days ago.
UW Health spokesperson Emily Kumlien said that thanks to “overwhelming interest” from the community, the study has found enough children to participate since it started accepting applicants Friday.
“Advancements in science, public health and clinical care often cannot happen without a supportive and engaged citizenry, and we greatly appreciate this community’s ongoing efforts to help end this pandemic,” Kumlien said in a statement.
Wisconsin’s rate of coronavirus cases on Monday reached a level not seen since the winter as the highly contagious delta variant fueled a fresh wave. The Department of Health Services reported the seven-day average for new cases reached 1,201 — the first time the average rose above 1,200 since early February.
Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 88%, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. Health officials also reported three more deaths, bringing the overall tally to 8,324 confirmed and probable deaths from COVID-19.
UW’s American Family Children’s Hospital is one of about 100 sites involved in the phase-three Moderna study, which aims to sign up about 12,000 children, said Dr. William Hartman, a UW Health anesthesiologist and co-leader of the study at UW.
Three-fourths of participants will get two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart, and one-fourth will get placebo shots. Children ages 6 to 12 will be inoculated first, followed by those ages 2 to 6 and then those 6 months to 2 years.
Children selected to participate in the study will be notified directly, Kumlien said.
Nearly all hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 now come from people who are not vaccinated, and state officials are pushing vaccination as the best tool against the virus.
The state offered on-site vaccinations at the State Fair last week, leading to 608 vaccine doses being administered. About 53% of the state’s total population is fully vaccinated.
“As the delta variant spreads throughout our state, getting shots in arms is the best way to keep each other and our communities safe,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.