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Boise teens to participate in Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial

Moderna is currently in Stage Two of their COVID-19 vaccine trial for people aged 12-17.

BOISE, Idaho — Two Boise teenage siblings are participating in the second phase of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set age restrictions on both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Moderna vaccine is only recommended for people over the age of 18, but it is not clear what effects the vaccine could have on younger people.

Megan Egbert, the mother of Lulu Dahlquist-Egbert and Evan Dahlquist-Egbert, said her teenage children made the decision to take part in this vaccine trial.

“If us helping to figure out if this vaccine will work can speed up the process, then yeah,” Lulu said.

12-year-old Lulu and 14-year-old Evan have had to put their lives on hold during the pandemic, including school, sports and their social lives.

“When everything got like shut down it, the opportunities to play sports were cut down by a lot and postponed,” Evan said.

Lulu said the two of them haven’t been many places since the pandemic started.

“We haven't really been anywhere in public that's inside other than the grocery store or something in a long time,” she said.

The two girls are scheduled to get their first shot of the trial vaccine on Friday, Jan. 22. They’re not sure if they will be receiving the placebo or the real vaccine.

“We feel confident in the science that this, especially for their age group, is a safe trial to participate in,” Egbert said.

Egbert heard about the trial from her doctor. She talked with her daughters about joining the trial and they decided to go for it.

“It is a long-term commitment,” she said. “It's a 13-month trial and they will have to log symptoms and have phone calls and have regular visits and blood draws so there is a commitment.”

The vaccine is the same one recommended by the FDA for adults.

“The thing is kids are very different than adults,” Dr. David Pate, retired CEO of St. Luke's said. They react differently and they have different risks than adults do.”

This data is needed to guarantee the vaccine is safe and effective for children. He also said it’s important that teens get vaccinated to help the state move forward.

“If we can't get to herd immunity, it’s very unlikely that we can fully return to our normal lives,” Pate said.

Reaching herd immunity is important for the Egberts because they can’t wait to experience life on the other side of COVID-19.

“I'm looking forward to just being able to hang out with my friends and being able to go back to all the sports I like to play normally,” Evan said.

A report from USA Today said the clinical trial is having a hard time getting enough teenagers signed up for it. Moderna is looking for 3,000 teens to take part.

“I think they're always going to remember this that they're two of 3,000 very brave adolescents in the United States who are making this sacrifice so things can be safer for everyone,” Egbert said.

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