METAIRIE, La. — Now that the state has opened-up COVID vaccines to all adults,
there's only one group left: Children.
A clinical trial to test the vaccine on babies and children opened today in Metairie.
Olivia Gelder,11, has two claims to fame. The first: She sold a box of girl scout cookies to Saints running back Alvin Kamara. He gave her a $100 bill and said keep the change. She insisted he take all the boxes he paid for.
The second: She'll be one of the first children in the U.S. to get a COVID vaccine.
“The pandemic's not going away, and I want to be able to have us get back to normal, to be able to visit grandparents, to be able to not worry about making a run to the grocery store,” said Jennifer Gelder, Olivia’s mother.
Olivia's mom, Jennifer, signed her up for the Moderna vaccine clinical trial. It's just starting for children six months through 11 years of age at MedPharmics in Metairie. Her big sister, Adelaide, 13, is in another arm of the trial for 12- through 17-year-olds.
“Having them sign up is going to allow the trials to go faster. The more kids they have, and hopefully they will get results sooner so that their friends can get vaccinated. Then we can all go back to normal,” Gelder said.
Another mother, who's also a doctor, signed up both of her teens.
“I'm really not scared. I am a pediatrician, so vaccines are one of the most important things I do, and I feel like this vaccine has been vetted properly. Of course, there’s no guarantee of anything in life, but I feel like the benefits greatly outweigh the risks,” said Dr. Amy Glick, who enrolled her teenage son and daughter in the adolescent arm of the study.
MedPharmics already has enough teens for that trial, but they are enrolling babies and children now. Principal investigator Dr. Robert Jeanfreau says it's important to get everyone vaccinated.
“If you have kids that are asymptomatic infections, they're a real source of infections for everybody. You see how grandma and grandpa pick up the grand kids,” said Dr. Jeanfreau, Medical Director of MedPharmics.
All children in the first phase of the study will get the real vaccine, not a placebo, as Moderna studies which dose works best. The second phase will give one-third of the participants a placebo, and two-thirds a dose of the vaccine.
For one week after the children get their vaccine, they have to record how they feel, and it's so easy for them because it's all done on their smartphones by downloading the Medidata app. If you don't have a smartphone, they'll give you a device to use.
As part of the trial, we could not talk to the children, or show them getting the shot.
To enroll your child in the trial call MedPharmics at 504-609-2333.
MedPharmics has eight locations in the area and across the U.S.