BARDSTOWN, Ky. — Early in the pandemic, pediatricians like Dr. Stan Block of Bardstown said they weren’t seeing that many kids who were impacted by COVID-19.

“Until the Delta strain hit,” he said. “When the Delta strain hit, we had a whopping number of kids infected with it, and it was very, very different than anything we had seen before.”

Block was part of the Kentucky Pediatric and Adult Research Group that helped Pfizer develop its MRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

What You Need To Know

  • The Kentucky Pediatric and Adult Research Group helped Pfizer develop its COVID-19 vaccine

  • The research group’s office in Bardstown was one of only seven clinical trial sites for Pfizer in the country

  • Pediatrician Dr. Stan Block co-founded the group more than 25 years ago

  • The group has conducted research on several other life-saving vaccines

Now after vaccines were approved for kids 5 and up, Block urges everyone to get vaccinated so fewer kids come to his office.

“Compared to infection with the virus itself, there’s no doubt [the vaccine] is anywhere from 10- to 100-fold safer than anything you’d get from the natural virus,” Block said.

The issue is especially important to Block because he actually helped develop the Pfizer vaccine. Block co-founded the Kentucky Pediatric and Adult Research Group more than 25 years ago; a group that’s done research on several life-saving vaccines.

The group started working with Pfizer on the COVID-19 vaccine as the coronavirus started popping up, and was one of only seven clinical trial sites for Pfizer in the country, run out of Block’s office in Bardstown.  

“It’s been exciting and really rewarding, and also leaves a tremendous legacy knowing that we’ve been involved in sparing a lot of death and morbidity throughout the world, not just in rural Kentucky or the United States,” Block said.

And he’s seen the effect of his research as now younger patients of his, like Tatum Sloan, can get the vaccine.

“I just feel excited that I’m safe and that we can have family Christmas again because last year we had to do it on Zoom,” she said after receiving her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Block’s office on Friday.

And while the group’s research has helped develop the vaccine, Block feels obligated to correct people who question how safe and effective it is.

“Where do you think the vaccine was developed? It was right here in your own hometown with the people you’re looking at in this office who helped get the clinical trials done for this vaccine,” he said. “So if you doubt the science, then you’re doubting our work, and our work has been impeccable for decades.”