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Researchers in Bardstown Studying Effects of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine on Adults, Children


The COVID-19 vaccine is starting to protect healthcare workers and the most vulnerable populations thanks, in part, to a research facility in Kentucky. 

Kentucky Pediatric/Adult Research in Bardstown was the only site in the commonwealth to conduct human clinical trials on the Pfizer vaccine.  More than 350 adults in Kentucky and Indiana participated in the study that began in July. 

Five months later, Research Director Marty Osbourn says watching medical workers and long-term care residents receive the vaccine is exciting.

“To finally see the emergency use authorization was just an emotional time, but then to see the vaccine shipped and reach hospitals, to know the work we’ve done is going to save lives, it’s very humbling," Osbourn told WKU Public Radio.

Even though the vaccine is on the market, the Bardstown study will continue until it receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.  For the next two years, study participants will be monitored for COVID infections and routinely have their blood drawn to assess their levels of antibodies. 

KPAR is currently conducting trials on children ages 12-15.  Osbourn says while results have not been publicly released, initial studies indicate the same side effects seen in adults.

“They will have a typical immune response. That’s what we want to see," explained Osbourn. "With that immune response, we see things like fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, things like that that are transient. They’ll last 24 hours and they’re gone.”

Studies on children younger than 12 are expected to get underway in 2021. While children are less likely than adults to become seriously ill or die from Covid-19, researchers say vaccinating them will help prevent the spread of the virus and achieve herd immunity.

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