9-year-old on Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine trial: ‘Nothing to be afraid of’

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Over 13,000 children across the country have enrolled in the trial for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, including 9-year-old Althea Madden from Kentucky.  

“My visits they were very simple like my dad said … a simple shot, a blood draw,” Althea told local outlet WYMT. “There was also a nose swab and we did a couple of telemeds.”

Althea’s father, Dr. Jared Madden, an osteopathic specialist out of Manchester, and mother Kerri, made the decision to vaccinate their youngest daughter through the trial in an effort to protect her, to help with the research effort, and to encourage others that the vaccine is safe. 

Other families “may not know virology, they may not know immunology but they know Dr. Madden’s kid had it,” Jared said of the vaccine. “[I don’t] have anything to gain, and if [my] daughter can do it, so can [another] child.”

Moderna has been administering its coronavirus vaccine in children ages 6 months to 12 years as part of a Phase 2/3 study dubbed KidCOVE. The vaccine, which has already received emergency use authorization in the U.S., is currently only approved for adults ages 18 and older. The company expects data on the shot’s efficacy among kids ages 5-11 in late fall or early winter, Insider reported.

Althea was vaccinated at a pediatrics office in Lexington, WYMT reported. Dr. George Fuchs, the principle investigator for a Moderna safety study at the University of Kentucky, calling the young trial participants inspiring.

“The kids really are heroes and the parents are too, it’s beyond words to describe how meaningful this is,” Fuchs told the outlet. 

Althea received two injections over the summer, and has undergone blood tests to measure her antibody levels. Soon, she’ll find out whether she received the vaccine or placebo, per local reports.

“It does not hurt. I was completely fine after I got the shot and there is nothing to be afraid of,” she told WYMT.

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