Teens Join Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Trials

Photo: (Photo : Macau Photo Agency / Unsplash )

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trials for kids ages 12 to 17 have already begun with 3,000 participants. Moderna also conducted a separate clinical trial in children under 12 years old, the youngest six months of age. Once the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine's effectiveness for this age group is affirmed, the FDA may authorize vaccination for emergency use for around 25 million teens in the U.S.

13-Year-Old Brothers Participate in Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

Teenage brothers Gavin and Emmett Preston received their Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shots in Charleston, South Carolina. While the 13-year-olds are not necessarily eligible for a coronavirus vaccine since the Food and Drug Administration is yet to approve the vaccine for kids under 16, the two teenagers participated in the clinical trial of randomized, double-blind studies, Business Insider reported. In the trial, half of the participants got vaccinated, while the others get a placebo.

The participants were tasked to note their side effects on an app. Emmett said a sore shoulder and feeling a bit run down after his first shot. Meanwhile, his brother Gavin reported minor fatigue two days after the second shot.

Emmett's initial reaction when hearing about the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial from his adopted mother was interesting. The Preston brothers have already been participating in another long-term research-the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study. His brother Gavin was keen on assisting in scientific research, himself wanting to research memory loss in the future.

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Brothers Unafraid of In-Person School after Getting Vaccinated

The brothers also wanted to get vaccinated for the sake of their adopted mother, who has an autoimmune disease. Now that they are going back to in-person schooling and not desiring to return to virtual school, the brothers did not want to bring the virus back home to their mom. "It makes me feel positive inside to be able to protect myself and my family from COVID-19," Gavin beamed.

Siblings Wanted to End Online Learning So Badly. They Got Vaccinated

Animi, 14, and Adonye Williams, 16, have been online learning for almost a year now, just like most kids their age due to the pandemic. The teens wanted virtual schooling to end so badly. They decided to volunteer to join the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trials, Houston Chronicle reported.

DM Clinical Research and the Texas Center for Drug Development started enrolling Houston teens in the trial to test the effectiveness of the Moderna vaccine in kids ages 12 to 17.

DM Clinical Research's executive director Elizabeth Hoff noted that the COVID-19 vaccine could make the kids "feel empowered to help the country." Animi understands this saying, "getting vaccinated will benefit everyone someday." Adonye proudly said about getting vaccinated, "I took [vaccine] like a champ."

Fini Tuamokomo found out that Moderna was looking for Black teenagers to participate in the trial. Tuamokomo, a social worker, and her eldest child, Amieh, have already been vaccinated. Hence she signed up her two youngest for the trial. The children's reported side effects included sore arms as well as fatigue on the second day. The siblings made over $200 from participating in the clinical trial.

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Teens Want to Help Beat the Pandemic

Four 7th-graders Zoey Frank, Janie Palan, Peyton Riegel, and Willa Nelson, volunteered to participate in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial, WPRI reported. Frank, whose brother also participated in the trial, said she first heard about the Moderna vaccine from a fellow student's mother. "At first, it seemed scary being the first ones getting the vaccine, but I did it because it would help people," the 7th-grade girl revealed.

While the participants were not told whether they received the vaccine or placebo, the teens revealed "feeling great to be part of something bigger than themselves." Riegel gushed about how cool it was to be "one of the few kids in this big world helping figure out the whole pandemic."

Some of the reported side effects from these participants included a swollen arm, feeling very tired, and getting a cold—symptoms, which, participant Nelson said, were all worth it.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan Should Prioritize Teachers as Recommended by CDC

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