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Stony Brook University Hospital Participating In COVID Vaccine Trial For Children Under 12

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The only medical center in our area to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine trial for children under 12 started the shots last week.

CBS2's Lisa Rozner spoke with some of the families who participated.

Sawyer Finn-Lerner of Port Jefferson, 3, clutches his teddy after getting his first shot as part of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine trial for kids. His brother, 7-year-old Evertt, is all smiles after his first injection as part of Pfizer's trial.

"They've been asking for a while about like, when can we get it, when can we get it?" said their mother Chelsea Finn.

"They actually said that, like, the shot part was the easiest part," said their father Matthew Lerner. "It's a whole day event with, you know, initial testing and follow-up, and they kind of formulate the exact dose for the study, right there."

While it's not clear if they got the placebo, they've had no symptoms so far.

Pfizer has enrolled more than 4,000 participants worldwide ages 6 months to 12-years-old.

Stony Brook University Hospital is one of only 100 facilities worldwide to take part in the study, overseen by Dr. Sharon Nachman, director of the hospital's Office of Clinical Trials.

"They will get their second dose in three weeks, then we will follow them for two months of safety data, and that is the data that will be compiled by Pfizer to be submitted to the FDA for approval," Nachman said.

Lily Barsi, 6, and 8-year-old Daniel Barsi of East Setauket also participated.

"They got their nasal swab and some blood work drawn and then the shot. It's a long day, but they were champs," said their mother Jennifer Barsi.

Mom and dad say Daniel was born premature and has asthma, so he's high risk if he were to ever get COVID.

"We really wanted to do our part to increase the widespread nature of vaccines," said their dad Dr. James Barsi.

Doctors say kids are less likely to have severe COVID but still, throughout the pandemic, thousands have been hospitalized, Rozner reported.

"The problem is children are interacting with grandparents. They're going on buses. The mask mandate is down now, we're going to see pockets," said Dr. Dyan Hes, medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics.

One 7-year-old participating in the trial in Virginia said "It felt a little teeny pinch for a weeny bit."

Most children will find out in December whether or not they got the placebo.

Stony Brook is still enrolling children ages 6 months to 5 years old. If you're interested, you can email

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