By Megan Hickey

CHICAGO (CBS) — There is one group that will certainly be left out of the first few rounds of COVID vaccinations: kids.

CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports on concerns from parents and doctors where the issue is research.

None of the main COVID vaccine contenders have been tested on children under the age of 12. Even though children have clearly been shown to contract and sometimes have serious complications from the virus.

Three-year-old Stella and her mom Liu Harper have been doing their best to avoid contracting COVID-19. Stella’s already a champ with the flu shot. While Liu and her husband could be receiving a vaccine sometime next year, Stella will be left out.

“I would be very happy to give it to Stella so that at least she would have a barrier to keep herself safe,” Harper said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement last month calling on researchers to begin adding children to vaccine trials ASAP, explaining that if children aren’t added to these trials soon, there will be a significant delay in when children could get access.

Dr. Elaine Rosenfeld, Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist for Advocate Children’s Hospital agrees that the research on kids in particular is necessary. She’s seen plenty of pediatric COVID patients and their complications firsthand.

“Children can be very sick with this illness,” Rosenfeld said.

Data from the American Association of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association shows that nationwide, at least 1 million (1,039,464) children have tested positive for COVID-19 and 133 have died.

In Cook County alone, the medical examiners office has confirmed the deaths of one infant and a 12-year-old due to COVID-19.

“We won’t get to herd immunity unless children are included in this vaccine effort,” Rosenfeld said. “And I think that it’s really important to be aware of the risk that a child can pose.”

That’s also why Stella’s mom said gathering the research is worth it.

“It’s not the safety of our own children but other people around them, too. I mean you have to think about everyone else, right,” Harper said.

The American Association of Pediatrics said that if this research doesn’t begin soon, it will be less likely that a vaccine will be available for children before the next school year.

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Megan Hickey