DETROIT (May 27, 2021) – Physician leaders touted the start of a pediatric vaccine study at Henry Ford Health System as a pivotal step in protecting children against COVID-19 and increasing vaccination efforts.
Adnan Munkarah, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, announced Thursday that enrollment for the Moderna KidCOVE study was officially open to children ages 6 months to 11 years old.
Parents may volunteer their children for the study at www.henryford.com/modernakidcove.
Dr. Munkarah has continued to emphasize that vaccination is the way out of the pandemic, now in its 14th month. Currently, 58.5% of people Michigan have received at least one dose of vaccine.
“We want to make sure we have enough immunity in the community to fight this virus. It is extremely important for us to remember there is a way to get this (pandemic) behind us and get back to some normalcy,” Dr. Munkarah said during a virtual briefing with reporters. “So, in the fall our kids are back to school and back to college, our businesses are open, and our city is moving again. And we can get back to the normal life that all of us have missed.”
Tisa Johnson-Hooper, M.D., Interim Chair of the Henry Ford Medical Group and a primary care practicing pediatrician, shared the story of her 12-year-old daughter who for years feared getting vaccinated but didn’t hesitate when she became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As a mom and as a pediatrician, I know that getting a shot can be scary for children, and quite frankly, traumatic for the parent,” Dr. Johnson-Hooper said. “As soon as she learned she was eligible, she came to me and asked for it. She begged for it. Simply, she was tired of feeling lonely and being alone. She simply did not want to make anyone else sick. She’s thrilled she conquered her fears and received her first vaccine this past Friday.”
Dr. Munkarah and Dr. Johnson-Hooper encouraged parents to consider enrolling their children in the study. “I would encourage parents to speak to their children about the COVID-19 vaccine and speak to your child’s pediatrician and make an informed decision about enrolling your child in this study. Your child could be a difference maker in the next phase of our vaccine research,” Dr. Johnson-Hooper said.”
KidCOVE is a randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 2/3 study that will evaluate Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine to determine which is the safest and most effective dose for these young children to protect them against COVID-19. This is the same vaccine that was given Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA for adults 18 and older.
Participation in KidCOVE will last about 14 months and require both in-person clinic visits and virtual visits. Like the two-shot regimen for adults, the young participants will receive one injection about 28 days apart. Neither the participants or their parents will know whether they received the study vaccine or a placebo injection. All participants will be closely monitored by the study team.
“As a pediatrician, I am so anxious to get children vaccinated. Kids really do want their lives back and I really do think this is one step closer,” Dr. Johnson-Hooper said. “This is a time of hope and I’m very hopeful that those who participate in this study, while they themselves may not derive individual benefit, they will benefit the knowledge that we have about this vaccine and help our community and help us come out of this pandemic.”
KidCOVE is the fourth vaccine study for which Henry Ford was chosen as a study site. The health system was a Phase 3 study site and the only Michigan site for Moderna’s two-dose adult vaccine and for Johnson & Johnson’s ENSEMBLE 1 one-dose and ENSEMBLE 2 two-dose adult vaccine.
The briefing was held against the backdrop of a sharp decline in hospitalizations across the health system – the lowest seen since the second week of March. Dr. Munkarah said with cautious optimism that “COVID is under control . . . but has not gone anyway.” He said people who are unvaccinated are at increased risk for contracting the virus and being hospitalized.
For that reason, masks are still required at Henry Ford facilities for patients, visitors and healthcare workers, Dr. Munkarah said.
Dr. Munkarah underscored the importance of vaccination for organ transplant recipients as well as their caregivers and household members. He also said vaccination is recommended for anyone who has recovered from COVID-19.
“I’m happy to report we are emerging from our third surge and we are starting to get back to some kind of normalcy,” he said. “I want to commend and celebrate our 33,000 employees of the Henry Ford Health System. Their dedication, their courage, their compassion for the past 14 months has been inspiring and nothing short of extraordinary. Hopefully we are getting out of this crisis for good this time.”
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About Henry Ford Health System
Founded in 1915 by Henry Ford himself, Henry Ford Health System is a non-profit, integrated health system committed to improving people’s lives through excellence in the science and art of healthcare and healing. Henry Ford Health System includes Henry Ford Medical Group, with more than 1,900 physicians and researchers practicing in more than 50 specialties at locations throughout Southeast and Central Michigan. Acute care hospitals include Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI and Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, MI – both Magnet® hospitals; Henry Ford Macomb Hospital; Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital; and Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.
The largest of these is Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, a quaternary care research and teaching hospital and Level 1 Trauma Center recognized for clinical excellence in cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, neurology, neurosurgery, and multi-organ transplants. The health system also provides comprehensive, best-in-class care for cancer at the Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, and orthopedics and sports medicine at the William Clay Ford Center for Athletic Medicine – both in Detroit.
As one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, Henry Ford Health System annually trains more than 3,000 medical students, residents, and fellows in more than 50 accredited programs, and has trained nearly 40% of the state’s physicians. Our dedication to education and research is supported by nearly $100 million in annual grants from the National Institutes of Health and other public and private foundations.
Our not-for-profit health plan, Health Alliance Plan (HAP) provides health coverage for more than 540,000 people.
Henry Ford Health System employs more than 33,000 people, including more than 1,600 physicians, more than 6,600 nurses and 5,000 allied health professionals.