LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A blood draw, a comprehensive physical and a needle poke followed by another one three weeks later.
"It was an experience I will tell my kids and grandkids [about]," Jack Elginer, a Calabasas 15-year-old, said.
Jack is a research volunteer in the adolescent trial of the Moderna vaccine, though he doesn't know for sure if he got the vaccine or a placebo.
"Someone had a hypothesis and we're part of the people that went and tested it," he said.
Back in December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, granted emergency authorization, which allowed Moderna to offer its COVID-19 vaccine to adults.
"It dawned on me, next is going to be in the adolescent population," Julie Elginer, Jack's mom, said. "We know that pediatric patients respond differently to therapies," she said.
Elginer is also a professor at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health.
"I'm a mom first, before I'm a public health professional," she said. "My biggest concern is making sure that my kids are protected, and the best way that the kids are protected is through immunity, and that will come primarily through the vaccines."
And the fastest way to get vaccinated before FDA authorization is to take part in a trial. So the Elginers travel two hours each way to Banning where Jack then has a three-hour appointment with a doctor.
"It is a commitment," Elginer said.
Volunteers are not told whether they have been selected to receive the vaccine or a placebo, and after the first shot, Jack said he didn't really have any symptoms.
But three weeks later, after his second dose, he said he had a fever of 102 degrees that lasted for two days — a possible clue as to whether or not he received the vaccine.
"I have a speculation," Elginer said.
Researchers will continue to gather data from teens like Jack for the next 12 months to establish dosing, safety and efficacy for the vaccine.
"This is like a very important time in our global health, and I was a part of this thing that will go in the history books later," Jack said.
More information about vaccine trials for children in Southern California can be found on the U.S. National Library of Medicine's clinical trials website.
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