Mar. 1, 2021 -- A 12-year-old boy says he’s had a good experience so far participating in clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine designed for adolescents.
“It feels pretty cool. It’s nice knowing that I have the vaccine, hopefully, and I'm like helping out society,” Henry Turcotte, 12, of Boise, ID, told the TODAY show.
Henry got his first shot of the trial Feb. 3. The next day he had arm soreness, a headache, and tiredness, but he doesn’t know if he was given the Moderna vaccine or a placebo.
“I think it might be the real thing, just because of all the side effects I had after it, and they're kind of similar to the ones adults had, so I'm hoping I got the real thing,” Henry said.
“I'm also really hopeful he actually got the shot. I don't know that I've ever cheered so much for side effects,” said his mother, Diana Lachiondo.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines being given in the United States are only for people over 18 and 16, respectively.
Moderna is now conducting a trial with 3,000 participants for kids 12-17 and Pfizer for kids 12-15. Trials for even younger kids will come later.
Henry, a sixth-grader, is taking part with two of his friends. Lachiondo told TODAY that her husband and sister are both doctors and they talked it through with Henry before signing him up.
“I'm really proud of him,” she said. “We're proud to do our part and hopefully it'll give parents some peace of mind when these vaccines hopefully become available for kids.”
Lachiondo provided informed consent for Henry’s participation, TODAY said. Henry then went through informed assent, with the doctors asking him many questions to make sure he wanted to take part in the trials.
That first visit included a blood draw and nasal swab to test for COVID-19, TODAY said. He’s scheduled for his second shot on March 3
“The anticipation was the scariest part,” Henry said. “But the shot itself did not hurt.”
Henry will record symptoms in an electronic diary, make six visits to the clinic, and have two phone or video visits with the study doctor. The family is financially compensated.
Children don’t appear to suffer severe sickness from COVID as often as adults, health authorities have said, but they may be asymptomatic and still spread the virus.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association said that as of Feb. 18, more than 3.1 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Children account for 0-0.25% of all COVID deaths.
There were about 71,000 new child cases in the last week of reporting, the two groups said, but new cases have been dropping for 5 straight weeks.