Henrico girl makes history as part of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 8:51 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - When it comes to getting vaccinated, kids ages 5-11 could receive shots early as October. This comes as COVID cases amongst children in the US have jumped 240 percent since July.

Pfizer recently announced its vaccine is safe and effective for that age group. The president of Moderna says they could get the green light a few weeks later.

Eight-year-old Dorian was a part of the trial.

The Henrico 3rd grader is on the front lines of research to create a COVID vaccine for kids - an age group with an increase in COVID cases.

Dorian and her mom graciously agreed to sit down with NBC12 and answer some questions many parents raised.

“What was so driving for you as a mom to get her vaccinated and be part of this?” Sarah Bloom asked Amy Dean, Dorian’s Mother.

“I felt like she would have a better chance at safety while still being able to play with other children. My main worry was that she was going to, you know, want socialization, which is so important for children, and not be able to have the level of socialization that she needed.”

“There was some risk to you as a parent though, you had to consider that,” said Sarah Bloom

“Yeah, I mean, I did see the risk in that I was weighing the risk of being in a trial when they’re actually volunteering, you know, children to go in earlier. But I knew that adults and teenagers had already been vaccinated and vaccinated safely. So, I believed in the vaccine, and I believed in the science. And I knew they were doing everything possible to keep the children in the study safe”

Amy says she and her daughter were both anxious, but she has no regrets knowing her child is safer now.

“What can you say to parents who are questioning how involved is this study? Was it really good enough study to make it safe for my kid?” said Bloom.

“They really do record everything that can happen...” said Amy Dean. “They make sure the vaccine is as safe as possible for children...Question and answer about symptoms, how they felt, all those. Physical examination, making sure she’s fine, but I think the blood work is the most important thing.”

Dorian had multiple rounds of blood work and immunity testing before and after the shot. Over time, she had to get shots to the exact date, and she got regular phone calls from doctors and researchers to check on her. Her mom even had an app on her phone for follow-ups questions and documenting any other reactions or changes.

“And that feels really good, actually, to know that they are making sure she is OK, even, you know, weeks or months out,” said Amy of the process.

Dorian is only one kid and one case, but for what it’s worth...Amy says Dorian’s side effects have been minimal.

“She was really just a little bit tired with a low-grade fever...And of course, I was nervous, so I was pleasantly surprised at the side effects versus her getting the flu, which she’s had, or even a bad cold.”

Her mom says after the second shot she didn’t even need Tylenol, and life carried on as usual.

Dorian is now one of few kids in the area who is fully vaccinated. She doesn’t have an official vaccine card, but she does have a signed piece of paper from the study documenting her participation.

A little piece of history from one of the first groups of younger kids to get a shot.

Tune into our RVA Parenting blog for updates. You can watch the full extended interview below:

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