U of U physician’s daughters take part in Moderna’s vaccine trial for kids

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A Utah mother who is also a doctor said her two daughters are a part of Moderna’s vaccine trials for children ages 6 to 11.

Dr. Emily Spivak is an infectious diseases physician at the University of Utah Health. She’s also a mother of three and said her seven-and-nine-year-old girls were vaccinated against COVID-19 at the end of August.

“They were a little nervous, but said they wanted to be brave and to do it for their friends,” Dr. Spivak said. “You know, they understood getting these studies done, getting kids to enroll, that they would be completed faster, have the data faster, be able to get vaccines to the rest of their friends and their school faster.”

Dr. Spivak said she was not worried about her daughters being a part of the study, as she said the COVID-19 vaccine has been studied for some time now.

“I explained to them, it’s very, very important and you’ll remember this that you were a part of science and discovery of hopefully getting this pandemic to an end by extending this vaccine to everybody and to elementary-age kids,” she said.

More than 4,700 kids across the country are participating in the study. Dr. Spivak said after having conversations with her girls about it, they chose to be a part of it; and on their way to get their first shot, she bought them a 7-11 Slurpee.

“For better or for worse, I had somewhat tried to prepare them, because it’s not just going and getting the vaccine,” Dr. Spivak said. “There are blood draws that are involved, there are the nasal swabs, again for the PCR for COVID or SARS-COV-2. There’s a lot of questions, physical exam, all that kind of stuff.”

Dr. Spivak said her girls were scared and cried when they got the shot, but she said afterward, they were OK.

“They were like, ‘Oh, that didn’t hurt, that wasn’t bad’. And afterward, they felt really, really proud and brave,” she said.

Dr. Spivak said she’s proud of her seven and nine-year-old girls for choosing to be a part of science and for helping others.

“For them it was scary. And so, I’m proud that they overcame that fear, and also, it’s been a hard 18 months for everybody,” Dr. Spivak said.

As an infectious disease physician, Dr. Spivak said she’s not the only one in the state whose kids are in the study. But she said she knows of many healthcare professionals who also have kids participating in the trials.

“What we’ve witnessed and seen over the last year and also because we trust the process, we trust the science, we know that it’s rigorous,” she said.

On Wednesday, Dr. Spivak said she found out her girls had received the vaccine, not the placebo.

“They were like, ‘Yes!’” she said. “So, they’re excited.”

After the second shot, Dr. Spivak said her girls experienced minor and common side effects.

“After the second shot, my oldest just had injection site pain and maybe felt a little run down,” she said. “My younger one did have a low-grade fever after the second shot, in addition to having her thigh hurt.”

Data is showing COVID-19 vaccines for young kids is safe and effective. Dr. Spivak hopes parents will recognize this.

“It’s been meticulous and rigorous, and I just really hope people hear that and trust our taking the lead on this by putting our kids in the trial and go out and get their kids vaccinated, now that it’s available,” she said.

Vaccine manufacturer, Moderna, reports its shot is safe for children 6-to-11-years-old and it plans to submit its data to the Food and Drug Administration soon.

Dr. Spivak has a three-year-old daughter who she says will be enrolled in a vaccine trial next week.

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