Young children in NJ who enthusiastically joined Pfizer COVID vaccine trials


Almost immediately after the COVID vaccination rollout began in New Jersey late last year, 10-year-old Maya Gandhi began to think about getting the vaccine.

The Bergen County girl watched her parents, both doctors, get vaccinated. In May, when her brothers, aged 13 and 14, received their Pfizer shots, she asked her mother Nisha when it was her turn.

Nisha Gandhi said she started looking for opportunities for Maya to participate in a Pfizer clinical trial. She applied to 8 studies across the country and Maya was accepted for the clinical trial of the Rutgers COVID pediatric vaccine in June.

“When I first received the email I was ecstatic, I had tears in my eyes, I had so much hope,” she said.

Gandhi said she had read the entire 40-page consent form and that Maya was thrilled with the opportunity.

Maya said she wanted to participate in the clinical trial “so that I can help COVID go away and more kids can get vaccinated, and school and activities and everything get back to normal.”

She said if we can’t get back to normal, “I hope at least the school is better, we can spend more time.”

She said that upon finding out that she had been accepted into the clinic, she was “quite excited, because out of so many people I was chosen.”

Her mother said that after the first injection Maya had pain in her arm for about four hours and there were no side effects after the second injection.

Maya said wearing a mask all the time is not easy.

“It’s kinda sucks because I don’t know what my teachers look like when I first meet them,” she said.

She noted when she told her friends that they were excited and shocked because they didn’t know this kind of study was going on.

Essex County resident Jenna Wagman has requested that her three children, aged 17 months and 6 and 8, participate in the Rutgers clinical trial.

“I really wanted them to be as safe as possible, and I wanted to feel like they were keeping others as safe as possible,” she said.

Wagman said she asked her 6-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter if they wanted to participate in the clinical trial, telling them “that they could help make a difference in the world and that they could give a lot of people a lot of hope, but I also told them that they don’t have to do it if they don’t want to.

Both children said yes, and their mother said she felt proud and grateful.

“I really took to heart what it meant for my children to be safe from COVID and to be less likely to make other people sick. “

She was then tasked with completing a test diary, but said the side effects were minimal with no adverse effects.

Maya’s mother said that once the clinical trial is over, Maya will be able to get the vaccine if she was given a placebo during the study, and after that “we haven’t planned a family trip but she wants to go. at Universal Studios to see Harry Potter. “

Pfizer has reported positive results from clinical trials, which involve approximately 3,000 children, including 130 enrolled in the Rutgers trial.

The Food and Drug Administration may approve Pfizer’s request for emergency use authorization for young children next month.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at [email protected]

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