Kaiser Permanente enrolling kids in COVID-19 vaccine trials

Pfizer and BioNTech are expanding research after the companies announced their trials found the vaccine to be 95% effective.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As COVID-19 cases surge across the United States, researchers are making strides at finding a vaccine to stop the spread.

Pfizer and BioNTech are expanding research - after the companies announced their trials found the vaccine to be 95% effective.

RELATED: Pfizer asks FDA for emergency use of its COVID-19 shot

But how effective is the vaccine on kids?

Kaiser Permanente in Northern California is now enrolling patients in a vaccine trial to find that answer.

"That study that's been reported has been completed in adults, had a lower age limit of 18. This now has been expanded to 16- and 17-year-olds currently and over the next coming weeks will be expanded to 12- to 15-year-olds," said director of Kaiser's vaccine study center Dr. Nicola Klein.

She said in the double-blind study half the participants will receive the vaccine while the other half get a placebo.

Klein said, "We do not check for the immune response ourselves, that's something that's sent to Pfizer."

The study will add 2,000 12- to 15-year-olds and 600 more 16- to 17-year-olds, including Allyson Eisenman.

She said she's asked to do weekly check-ins via app: "I actually like to do once a day. They ask me about my symptoms, so I just log that. It takes like 30 seconds."

The 17-year-old said she hasn't noticed any symptoms, but her dad Jeff said after both injections, he felt mild symptoms for roughly a day. "Someone needs to do it. There need to be volunteers and this is our chance to contribute," he said.

Seeing her mother, a nurse at Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara, and her father participate in the study wasn't Allyson's only motivation.

She said she's seen too many not take COVID-19 seriously. "It's one thing to hang with a few friends and social distance and be safe, but these people are being selfish and not doing that. They're bringing it home to their families and it's just going to help it spread more," she said.

Missing out on the typical in-person junior year activities, she said she hopes her contribution means we can get back to some sense of normalcy.

Trials are expected to conclude in two years and there's currently a discussion on whether to roll this vaccine trial out to even younger groups.

For eligibility requirements or information on how to sign up, click here.
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