‘How am I going to solve this?’: Local 12-year-old part of coronavirus vaccine trial

Coronavirus

SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio (WJW)– A local middle school student is among the young people who have volunteered to take part in a trial of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine that could expand use of the vaccine to children.

Twelve-year-old Josie Bullock is one of the youngest faces in the fight against the pandemic.

The Hathaway Brown student is participating in a blind trial testing the Pfizer vaccine among children who are 12 to 15 years old. On Wednesday, she received either a first dose of the vaccine or a placebo.

“There’s a force inside of me that says, ‘I want to get rid of the problem in the world, how am I going to solve this?’ And, I’m going to solve this by doing it,” she said of the trial.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the vaccine but limited its use to people 16 and older.

“If there’s a greater chance of me being able to help this get approved for kids my age, of course I’m going to do it,” Josie said.

Josie said she felt it’s her way to make a positive change in the world and combat the virus, so she can return to normal things like attending camp.

Her mother, Cathy Kilbane, said the family learned of the trial through a newsletter sent by their longtime pediatrician, Dr. Shelly Senders, and Josie was enthusiastic about applying.

“It makes me feel really proud of her,” Kilbane said. “With any challenging decision, you’re always going to balance risk, but we’ve been with Dr. Senders for 10 years, and we really trust him and his practice, so that went a long way to getting me comfortable.”

Senders said his practice, Senders Pediatrics in South Euclid, has taken part in nearly 200 vaccine trials and had an existing relationship with Pfizer.

“We were approached as one of five sites nationwide to do a pilot study,” he said.

Senders said 100 to 150 of his patients are expected to take part in the latest Pfizer trial. So far, he said some participants have experienced mild, flu-like symptoms as a side effect.

“The reason this vaccine and other trials like it are important is because we’ve got to get our kids protected and get them back to school,” Senders said.

He said the practice also hopes to participate in another upcoming study of the Pfizer vaccine among younger children between ages 5 and 11.

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