‘A little person in history’: the adolescents who signed up to test the COVID vaccine

NEW YORK, Dec 11 (Reuters) – Two teenage brothers in the United States who signed up for a coronavirus vaccine trial said they did so because they wanted to make their own small contribution to history.

Nathan Williams, 17, and his sister Delilah, 12, signed up for the trial after spending months in pandemic isolation. His mother, Melanie Williams, is a nurse and hospital administrator who works in a ward that cares for COVID-19 patients.

“The first thing that came to mind was to be a man for others, mainly just to help others before worrying about my own concerns,” Nathan said.

He first enrolled in Pfizer Inc’s vaccine research trial at New Orleans, Louisiana-based Ochsner Health, and then joined Delilah.

It was totally her decision, Melanie said.

“They would see me coming home and meticulously they would take off my shoes at the door and nothing would come in. And there was also a certain amount of time that we were estranged because there was an increase in cases in the inpatient setting. ,” she said.

“I put the brochure on the table. I didn’t have any conversation with them about it unless they asked me questions. And then he was sure, why not? “

A panel of external advisers from the US Food and Drug Administration voted overwhelmingly Thursday to support emergency use of the vaccine, developed by Pfizer with Germany’s BioNTech SE. The agency is expected to authorize the vaccine shortly for a nation that has lost more than 285,000 lives to COVID-19.

The lead investigator for the Ochsner Health trial said kids like the Williamses were providing a great public service.

“We have several vaccines for the pediatric population,” said Dr. Julia García-Díaz, citing measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, pneumonia and flu.

“And all of those vaccines … had to be tested in children to ensure that they are safe and effective in that population. COVID is no different. “

The Williams brothers have experienced no side effects from the test injections, which could have been vaccine doses or a placebo in the double-blind study. Tracking and reporting your temperatures and any symptoms is a small inconvenience in a global pandemic, they said.

“To think that it could be a small part of the story is something exciting,” Delilah said.

“And if I’m just a little person in the story, that’s fine with me.” (Reuters Television reporting; Edited by Richard Chang and Rosalba O’Brien)