“And I also thought it was important that people of different ages and races be represented,” added Audrey, who, like her brother, is Asian. (Her mother Rachel, a nurse researcher who volunteered to try a vaccination, asked that their last names be withheld for privacy reasons.)
Overall, the teenage studies may be less different because the adult study results showed no discernible difference in results by race. And because the adult studies have been so successful, up to two-thirds of teenagers may be offered the actual vaccine instead of a placebo.
Pfizer, whose study is fully enrolled, expects results from its studies for children ages 12-15 years old in the first quarter of this year to be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review. Moderna is still recruiting teenagers for its studies. The data is expected to be available this summer. Other companies expect to begin studies for teenagers soon. Shortly thereafter, researchers will open studies for children ages 5 and up, most likely at more modest doses.
As in any medical study, investigators are indifferent to discussing risks and benefits. Instead of teaching young subjects, Dr. Campbell, whose clinic will be conducting a Moderna study for younger children, puts her in conversation.
“Do you remember your tetanus shot? Tell me about it, ”he might say. And then: “So it’s similar and how is it different.” He wants to make sure that the teen is actively involved in the decision-making process. “We always say, ‘Don’t do this for your parents. ‘”
Dr. Sarah Hasan, senior recruiter for DM Clinical Research who oversees the Houston Fights Covid campaign and most of the city’s vaccine studies, said the educational sessions for teenagers and adults are quite different. She has more fun with the teenagers.
“Usually adults scan the form, ask a few questions, and they’re done,” she said. “But kids ask a lot more questions than adults and actually listen, which is pretty nice.”