12-year-old girl rolls up sleeve to participate in youth vaccine trials

12-year-old girl rolls up sleeve to participate in youth vaccine trials

CHARLOTTE — A 12-year-old girl wanted to make an impact during the pandemic, so she rolled up her sleeves and signed up for the latest phase of Pfizer vaccine trials.

“I’ve always wondered how I could help people, and this is like the perfect opportunity for me,” Sophie Holland said.

A Duke University COVID-19 vaccination study enrolled children up to 15 years old.

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“It was up to Sophie to really make an informed choice,” said Dr. Thomas Holland, Sophie’s father. “We went through the consent form in a lot of detail and talked about the risk potential and the benefits. And then she thought about it and thought that it was something she wanted to do.”

Her father studies infectious diseases, including COVID-19, at the Duke University School of Medicine.

“So I’ve had one perspective in the hospital, taking care of patients with COVID the past year,” Dr. Holland said. “And in many ways, my family has lived just as difficult an experience trying to figure out how to go to school and work in this.”

Sophie has received the shots or placebos and given blood samples twice.

Youth trials across the country have been notably smaller. Duke enrolled 2,000 children for the Pfizer trial compared to 40,000 adults.

“I was a little bit nervous because I had never gotten blood drawn before,” Sophie said.

Sophie said she experienced mild symptoms after the second shot.

“I had chills during the night, and then I had a fever the next day, but it really only lasted two days and then it was all over,” she said. “So it’s not too bad.”

“For Sophie, she’s able to figure out if these vaccines are safe for kids,” Dr. Holland said. “That has a big potential effect in protecting teachers as well, right? So if we can vaccinate kids, that’s a big part and getting schools open.”

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