LITTLE ROCK, AR. (Jan. 25, 2022) – The experiences of Arkansas children who have battled COVID-19 or influenza are contributing to national pediatrics research that is providing guidance for vaccinations and treatment for the diseases. Arkansas Children’s patients are included in four national studies out this month, three of which demonstrated that vaccines substantially protected against severe illness.

Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the studies found that “among hospitalized adolescent patients, two doses of BNT162b2 vaccine were highly effective against COVID-19-related hospitalization and ICU admission or receipt of life support.”

“We are proud the work of our teams at Arkansas Children’s can highlight how kids in our state coped with these infectious diseases,” said Rick Barr, M.D., M.B.A., chief clinical and academic officer at Arkansas Children’s and an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). “While healthcare heroes have worked incredibly hard over the last two years, the silver lining is this research is showing us how protective vaccines truly are.”

The papers are:

The vaccine study work was led by Katherine Irby, M.D., UAMS assistant professor of Pediatrics in the section of critical care, and Ron Sanders, M.D., a UAMS professor of Pediatrics in the section of critical care, along with research coordinator, Glenda Hefley, R.N. They practice at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Clinical Research Nurse Coordinators Ashlyn Madding and Masson Yates were also instrumental in the research.

The characteristics and clinical outcomes work was led by Barr and Jessica Snowden, M.D., chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Arkansas Children’s. Snowden is a professor of Pediatrics in the College of Medicine at UAMS, where she also serves as chief of the division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.


Arkansas Children's, Inc. is the only healthcare system in the state solely dedicated to caring for Arkansas' more than 700,000 children. The private, non-profit organization includes two pediatric hospitals, a pediatric research institute and USDA nutrition center, a philanthropic foundation, a nursery alliance, statewide clinics, and many education and outreach programs — all focused on fulfilling a promise to define and deliver unprecedented child health. Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is a 336-bed, Magnet-recognized facility in Little Rock operating the state’s only Level I pediatric trauma center; the state's only burn center; the state's only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit; the state's only pediatric intensive care unit; the state’s only pediatric surgery program with Level 1 verification from the American College of Surgeons (ACS); the state’s only magnetoencephalography (MEG) system for neurosurgical planning and cutting-edge research; and the state's only nationally recognized pediatric transport program.  Additionally, ACH is nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four pediatric subspecialties (2021—2022): Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Nephrology, Pulmonology and Urology. Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW), the first and only pediatric hospital in the Northwest Arkansas region, is a level IV pediatric trauma center. ACNW operates a 24-bed inpatient unit; a surgical unit with five operating rooms; outpatient clinics offering over 20 subspecialties; diagnostic services; imaging capabilities; occupational therapy services; and Northwest Arkansas' only pediatric emergency department, equipped with 30 exam rooms. Generous philanthropic and volunteer engagement has sustained Arkansas Children's since it began as an orphanage in 1912, and today ensures the system can deliver on its promise of unprecedented child health. To learn more, visit


UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 3,047 students, 873 medical residents and fellows, and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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